Do you have a part of your life that you look back on and smile? Some people look at their school days, some their childhood holidays, mine was my job in the city.
It might sound silly but it was a massive part of my life and it actually changed my life massively too.
I was living with my parents in Epsom, I was in a pretty safe and simple relationship. I'd just gotten over a bout of terrible illness and I was ready to do something with my life. I was getting very bored with retail jobs and life in general. I knew I needed to find something that kept my interest.
I went along to a makeover day with a friend. You might be familiar with them, they cost nothing, they give you a make over, a few glasses of something alcoholic, take your pictures and then offer you the photos to take home for an obscene amount of money. Although I hated my pictures and they didn't get a penny from me I did come away with something that day. I realised what I wanted to do. I wanted to work there, maybe not even there, but something like that. I was a great host, I had great people skills, and a love for all things make-up.
When I got home that evening I started the job search, I spruced up the CV and emailed a bunch of companies. Within a few days I was offered an interview at a studio in central London, I remember seeing people who are now some of my best friends and feeling right at home straight away. Everyone looked so fun and friendly, they were all so pretty too! It was a million miles away from anything I'd experienced in my tiny town in Surrey - this was exciting! Thankfully I was offered the job that day and that's where it all began.
I worked with an amazing group of girls and it didn't have a bitchy feel to it at all. Obviously at times we had our disagreements but it was never serious. We had a team of about 14 and no day was ever the same, we all had different shifts so we didn't get sick of each other, it kept it fresh and I think that's a big reason why we all got on so well. It helped that we worked really well together too.
I moved to London with my then-boyfriend, my then-best-mate and her boyfriend. It made it much easier to get to work and even easier for me to stay out! I lived for our Friday nights out - often extending them to the odd Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday night out too! I ended up loving my work life more than my home life. These people 'got me' and I absolutely loved my job. Seeing our clients transform every day after having their hair and make-up done was lovely and I became really target driven, really passionate about what I did and I found something I was very good at. I was finally feeling good about myself. It was great mixing with people from other departments - even more so when Sam started working there! I fancied the pants off him!
When I had days off I was miserable, my home life now seemed so boring and it made me feel old before my time. I was 24 and most nights we had planned meals, planned meal TIMES and hours of BBC Three. I was avoiding everyone, I would often go out early to see my parents, meet friends from work or even just go shopping on my own -just to avoid being indoors with everyone. It wasn't like we were under each other's feet, it was just that we didn't click any more, the relationships had gone stale and we'd outgrown each other.
Work was my escape, work made me happy. I was the happiest version of myself. I was earning a fair bit of money and I could afford to go out a lot and to shop a lot. I should have put money into savings really but I was young and I was having too much of a good time! I had the life I wanted - most of it anyway.
I worked as much overtime as I could and when I wasn't working I was out having meals or going for drinks with work friends. They knew me better than my (then)best friend and my (then)boyfriend. I remember my (then)best friend came to see me at work, she overheard me chatting to a client and commented that I didn't sound like me - I realised she didn't even know me any more, this was me! I actually hated being off work, once it worked out that I had 4 days off in a row and I asked my manager to never do that to me again! Even coming back from a holiday in Cuba I was so excited to get back in and see everyone.
We had some incredible nights out together, followed by some very difficult 9 hour shifts that we helped each other through!
I made great bonds with some incredible people. I felt liked and understood and some of those guys got me through some really tough times. I had the friend group I'd always read about in magazines. These girls (and one guy) had my back, we all supported each other. We had our fall-outs but we always had it out and made up. I had the friends I could go to with problems, the one that had me in stitches, the people I could tell my deepest darkest secrets to, there were the ones that were beautiful inside and out, the one who had all the answers, the one who would give you their honest opinion, the one who would listen intently, the one who would put me in my place, and the big handful who were excellent to party with! And to top it off there was Sam, who changed my life the most, I won't go into it too much but I've never fancied someone like I did/do him and we had the biggest connection straight away. I'm very lucky we ended up together (and have a child together!) as I don't think there is anyone more perfect for me.
So as dramatic as it sounds this job changed my life, I grew up a lot and found out who I really was. I made some excellent friends, and although I see them less, I am even closer to some of them now then I was then. These girls never fail to make me smile and although I've drifted apart from a couple of the girls and guys from 'the good old days' each one has a massive place in my heart and has left me with the best memories.
I'd love to hear what makes you look back on and smile, let me know in the comments.