Thanks to a poll on my Twitter back in November, my wonderful followers decided that I should publish a blog post and film a vlog every day for the entirety of December!

So welcome to December 13th…

Today is all about my collaboration with one very special brand on Etsy, in this post I’ll be reviewing the products they sent to me and on December 23rd you can enter a competition to win these products and the remaining four that I’ll be reviewing every other day this month!

In recognition of the slogan on this YANA UK t-shirt (‘you are not alone’), I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about finding your tribe of people who can help to make you feel less alone, and I wanted to recognize - and thank - the people who do this for me.

I was brought up as the only young person in a really small family with just five immediate family members – no cousins, one Aunt, one Uncle, one set of grandparents, and one (fantastic) parent. On the one hand this was brilliant because it meant that we had more special relationships and had the opportunity to have a varied support system with each family member bringing something different to my life. On the other hand, it also meant that any disagreements were magnified and tended to affect and impact the entire family.

The biggest test to the important relationships in my mind came in 2006 when the girls who I thought were my friends started bullying me, I began to question our friendship and felt so alone. Then, the abuse started; and I reconsidered the reliability of everyone in my life and was left believing that I had no one I could speak to about what was happening to me. I mean, not so long before it started, I’d trusted and respected my abuser and now he was my worst enemy. How could I possibly trust anyone ever again?!

Ironically, hiding the biggest part of my life from family and friends made relationships even more difficult because being so successful at hiding all of the signs of what was happening to me made me doubt how much they actually cared about me. Surely if they did, they’d see beyond my pretense and outright lies and figure out what was really going on so that they could help to stop it.

Mum – thank you for making sure I never missed having two parents and thank you for always being on my side.

Aunt – thank you for teaching me that unconditional love is not affected by mileage.

Emmy (my cat) – thank you for joining the family when we were missing a member and for raising us up when we were down from losing Dolly.

Pixie (my bunny) – thank you for always jumping into my arms when I don’t even have to ask you to.

The Besties:

Georgie – thank you for staying in my life when you could have easily left!

Lauren – thank you for the stupid drunken nights that really showed me enjoyment at a time when I’d forgotten what that was.

Ellie – thank you for the Harry Potter themed giggles and for bringing my God-Children into my life.

Marty – thank you for being the one friend that best understands one of the biggest aspects of my life (my blog).

Becky – thank you for going above and beyond.

Richmond Fellowship – thank you for all of the opportunities, responsibilities and confidence at important events and meetings and for always tailoring your care to what I need.

You can buy this particular product here for £22:

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