Health · lifestyle · mental health

2017 … My Year !

2017 … were to start? let me take you back to New Year’s Eve 2016 …
2016 was a hard year for me and on New Years Eve that year I decided 2017 was going to be my year. I was turning 30 years old in 2017 and I wanted to make it a year to remember, did I do it?
YES, I bloody did!!
My resolution for 2017 was to prove to myself I can do things I didn’t think I could, I wanted to prove to myself that I was more than I had become. After having my boys, I threw myself into being a mummy and a wife, I put my career on the back burner and supported my husband Phil to fly in his work (which he really has beyond anything I could have imagined … I’m so proud of him.) I wanted to push myself for the first time in years, out of my comfort zone and blossom. I wanted to be scared and nervous and I wanted to be happy.
So, on 1st January 2017 I began my adventure that would be 2017, I would love to share with you some of the amazing things I did this year, not to brag but to share the happiness I feel that I did it, as a woman of low self-worth I give myself a year and I made it work.
The beginning of the year was about planning and booking in for my adventures to come. For years I’d wanted my Helix pierced and one lunch time at work in February I, with my manager went very spur of the moment to get it pierced, now this doesn’t sound ground breaking and it wasn’t but it was the first yes of the year, it was the first ‘why not’ and I love it!
Then came April and I was laid in a hospital bed unable to move after being in surgery for 3 hours having 3 pounds worth of excess skin removed from my tummy, and previous surgery corrected. I had decided just 4 weeks earlier that I wanted to go ahead with a corrective tummy tuck from my cesarean sections and losing 5 stone, which left me with excess skin and a painful scar even 3 years later. I had been in talks with my doctor for years about this and the only way to fix it was surgery, and after 3 years researching and being scared I booked myself in. So here I was regretting that choice because of the pain, and the next 2 weeks massively kicking myself for putting myself through this. But now 8 months on I believe it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, its given me some confidence back and another scar to join the ones already covering my body … another reminder of the life I’ve lived so far. (blog post to come in 2018 for my surgery)

5 Months post operation

May soon came along and I started something which has changed my life and something I will never forget. I started my Instagram blog, ‘Our beautiful Chaos’. My whole life I have been in love with interiors, it’s my hobby and I adored looking through people’s home accounts on Instagram. People would tell me to start one but me being me didn’t think I could do it, I didn’t think I was good enough and the thought of failing terrified me. I told myself this was my year and I needed to give myself a chance so I started my account. Within weeks I had 100’s of followers I couldn’t believe people wanted to follow my home and my life. Soon I had made friends, found amazing inspirational blogs and found businesses I fell in love with … which brings me to soul candles. I found this business and being a candle addict thought I’d try one, I ordered the Votive candle set and so my love affair with this company began. Soon I was stocked up with all the flagship scents, which not only looked amazing and filled my home with stunning scents but the essential oils helped my wellbeing more than I can say. Then I discovered the women behind the candles, Gemma and Sarah, these ladies have become my friends and are truly inspirational. I was picked to be the second ever Soul brand rep, which meant so much to me, for the girls to believe in me made a massive mark on my heart that I will never forget, and to help this business which helped me personally so much with candles I believed in has been my honour. Becoming a brand rep was another massive win for my 2017 adventures!

My Instagram blog now just 7 months on isn’t far off 10,000 followers I can’t thank each and every person who follows and supports me enough. It was a risk for me to start and It was one of the best risks I’ve ever taken, its helped me platform things I believe in, I’ve worked with amazing businesses and charity’s and I’ve had two photo shoots in my home for magazines which will be published next year. These photo shoots blew my mind that magazines would want to feature me and my home. Having amazing photographers and stylists in my home working their magic was such an amazing experience, and being interviewed by journalists topped it off. I am so excited to see my home published in 2018. Some of my photos have been featured on businesses Instagram pages and I’m so grateful for each one of them.

Through my Instagram blog I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to some amazing people, the support and messages I get from people have touched me so deeply. I’ve posted just a few below without names for privacy, (unless it was a public comment) but they show the amazing and touching ways people have reached out to me. Some of the messages I have received have been after I have posted a personal blog post and people have been so brave to share their own experiences with me, some saying they had never shared it with anyone else. These messages will stay with me always and are the reason I share the most painful memories I have, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being so brave and letting me share your memories, good and bad. To know I have helped people through what I’ve been through makes it worth every scar. (I haven’t included more personal massages from people as I don’t feel that’s my place) I’ve made friends for life through Instagram.

The next few months went by in a busy, crazy blur of opportunity’s and fun.
I celebrated my 30th Birthday which for anyone who knows me knows I’ve been waiting for since I was a teenager. Having overcome hardship and pain in my younger years I missed out on the innocence of being a child, and the fun of being a teenager, that was robbed. The experiences others put me through made me have to grow up and become old before my time. My mum always said she loved her 30’s and how they are the best years and I clung on to this, I needed some hope that ‘my’ years were to come and finally this year I turned 30! Armed with my boys, Phil and my amazing family and friends I knew my mum was right, these are going to be my years and what a way to start it … I celebrated hard as this was so much more than just turning the big 3 0 for me. My sister in law, Cath, bought me a candle called ‘a child’s wish’ as she knows how much turning 30 meant to me, this candle made me cry and still does as it so perfectly describes how I felt. Its my fresh start, a new bracket of my life to be full of happiness.

Soon after turning 30 I started this blog. I wanted to finally be brave enough to write my feelings down and admit them to the world, I also wanted a place to share my love for interior. It’s gone much deeper than that, some of my posts have been very personal and I’ve wrote about things even people who know me didn’t know. I’ve found it both very hard and very liberating to write my personal posts, its lifted some of the weight off me and although some of the things I’ve been through are still just too painful to share with the world, it’s been a start and a massive step for me. Its helped with my self esteem issues and my confidence and its finally given my voice a chance to be heard, as some people shout very loud and its hard to get the truth out.
Throughout the year it’s not only been big changes or experiences that have made the year, also working on my mental health has been a massive part of this. Learning to be kind to myself and seeing myself and my body as they are and not as people have told me they are. I’ve worked through issues and the blog has helped with that massively. I’ve learnt that I am worth more and that I can be more. I was also so grateful to be part of ‘Mental Health Awareness week’ with Soul candles, together we were lucky enough to bring my followers a fantastic giveaway to help raise awareness and I also wrote a blog post for this. Being able to be part of that week was a very meaningful time for me.
In September me and Phil completed Trekfest for an amazing charity very close to my heart Women’s Aid. It was so important to me to give back this year and try to help even just one woman who’s in need, through the charity. I have a previous blog all about the trek and why we did it in detail, it was one on the hardest things, physically I’ve done especially only 5 months after major surgery and I struggled but we did it (with the help of my husband who like everyday was my rock) walking over that finish line was a feeling of relief and power as I’d finished the 25K trek and for what it stood for, the pain of that day was worth it.

The icing on the cake was raising just under £800 and being the top team for fundraising for woman’s aid. We are so proud of that, I’m thinking jumping out of an aeroplane for next years fundraiser … Phil’s not convinced.

To finish off the year, I was involved in my greatest achievement and something I’m so proud to be apart of. In December this year I got to work with a charity called UN women UK, who are working for gender equality and ending violence against women and girls. This charity is amazing and they did a 16-day movement to ‘draw a line’ against violence against women. This movement was massive and with support from celebrity’s such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Billie Piper, Niomi Smart, Giovanna Fletcher, Beverley Knight, Alistair Stewart and Joanne Froggatt just to name a few. Also with support from sports personalities, MPs and bloggers, not to mention their global ambassador Meghan Markle this charity speaks for itself. I was so honored to be part of this life changing movement for women and girls all over the world. But it doesn’t end there we still need to keep this momentum going, women all over the world are still suffering and it needs to end, please use this link to donate every donation goes such a long way. UNWomenuk.

Throughout this year, between all these massive moments I’ve been a mum, a wife, a sister , a daughter, a auntie, a friend … I’ve tried to be the best I can be and I’ve had some amazing times with family and friends. We had the holiday of a life time, I was bridesmaid for my sister and brother in laws magical wedding, I’ve made new friends and I’ve had the best year through it all. Thank you to every person that’s helped me make this my year, I love you all.
I feel so grateful for 2017 and all the opportunity’s I’ve been given, I think it shows that if you are open to change and take risks the world is yours. I leave 2017 a very different person to the one who entered it. To some my achievements won’t seem much but to me just a normal girl from the North East its meant the world. I am proud of myself for being brave and stepping into a new mindset. I hope I have made a difference …
So, here’s to 2018 who knows what this new year will bring, merry Christmas and the happiest of new years to you all.
All my love
Manda xx

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