Adventure, Blog, Career, Creative, Graduation, Happiness, Life, Open University, Positivity, Teaching, Writing

Graduation!

Heyy,

Hope you’re having a good day!

So, I did a thing in early November this year…

I graduated from The Open University with 2:1 in BA (Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing!!! πŸ˜€

It has been an incredible year for me, jam-packed with wonderful experiences and achievements I never believed possible, even in my wildest dreams. But, as I bid goodbye to undergraduate studies, I embark on brand new learning adventures in the form of a full-time role in education. I now work for the ALN department in a secondary school, where I am about to undergo a transformation from LSA to SpLD Co-ordinator as I take on the professional development opportunity to cover a colleague who is off on maternity leave.

Through my new role in the realm of literacy, cognition and learning as part of the ALN umbrella, I hope to be able to support many, many students to ensure their experiences of learning while at school are the best they could possibly be. I’m also excited to use the exciting training opportunities and responsibilities of the role to further enhance my literary endeavours, as I strive to create books for young people who are reluctant readers and/or have dyslexia and other associated superpowers πŸ™‚

Although my new role means less time for blog writing during term time, I truly hope to make a difference through the work I do – and I look forward to sharing my future books with you all!

Many thanks for reading – you are awesome πŸ™‚

Best wishes,

Dannika <3

Adventure, Blog, Happiness, Honeymoon, Life, Magic, Nature, Photography, Positivity, Self-Love, Wedding, Writing

Our Amazing Honeymoon

Hi,

Hope you’re well and that you’re having a lovely week πŸ™‚

So, Gareth and I embarked on our wonderful honeymoon in late September – it was my first ever trip abroad, and it couldn’t have been more amazing!

We ventured to Rhodes, where the crystal clear sea sparkled under blazing autumn sun…

Upon our arrival at the incredible hotel, we were greeted with champagne and the fantastic staff gifted us with a fabulous room upgrade – which meant we enjoyed a shared private pool and a beautifully decorated suite πŸ˜€

The food was excellent, especially given my lactose intolerance, vegetarian preferences, and general fussy eating – the hotel staff were so accommodating and welcoming; we couldn’t have asked for better; they even organised a cake on our last day, as it was my birthday!

Another benefit of the setting we chose for our honeymoon was the abundance of exotic wildlife and the spectacular scenery that took our breath away at every turn…

I also fought against my body confidence issues by trying out some new clothing styles, and even wearing bikinis!

Gareth and I also ventured to Lindos – what an incredible place. Lindos is steeped in history and aglow with Greek mythology…

What an adventure my husband and I had in Rhodes – we’re incredibly lucky and infinitely grateful to have found each other and be able to enjoy such awe-inspiring experiences together <3

Thank you, once again, for your continued support πŸ™‚

Best wishes,

Dannika

Adventure, Blog, Happiness, Life, Magic, Positivity, Wedding, Writing

Our Magical Wedding

Dearest Reader,

Sincerest apologies for not writing to you sooner, life has been pretty hectic!

(Although I’m not apologising for the ‘Bridgerton’ vibes, because I felt very ‘Bridgerton-esque’ in my wedding dress with my hair and make-up professionally styled :D)

I hope you’re well and enjoying the countdown to Christmas πŸ™‚

My husband (:D) and I got married in early September, and we couldn’t have wished for a more magical day…

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook in celebration of the best day of our lives:

“My husband (😁) and I are incredibly grateful to all who worked tirelessly to make our magical wedding so perfect πŸ‘°β€β™€οΈπŸ€΅β€β™‚οΈπŸΎπŸ₯‚

Our family and friends are beyond awesome, and there isn’t a moment we aren’t thankful for their support – you are wonderful, and both of us know how lucky we are to have you as part of our next, exciting chapter πŸ’

We’re also thankful for our amazing guests, who made sure our wedding was the fantastic celebration it turned out to be – we are so glad to have been able to share our wonderful wedding with you, and we hope you enjoyed it too 🌷🍰🏩πŸ₯³

Infinite thanks for the fabulous wishes from everyone sending messages, texts, cards, and gifts as well – we’re eternally grateful for your kindness and support 🎁🎊

After all the trials and tribulations of our respective pasts, Gareth and I know how truly fortunate we are and we couldn’t be happier… πŸ₯°πŸŽ‰

Thank you all for your continued support 😁

Lots of Love,
Mr & Mrs Johnson ❀”

While Gareth stayed at our house with his best man, I stayed at our wedding venue with my mum. The hotel room was gorgeous – straight out of Beauty & the Beast!

In fact, the entire venue was lovely – we certainly made the right choice. The staff were absolutely fantastic and we couldn’t thank them enough πŸ™‚

The excitement of marrying the man of my dreams far outweighed the nerves of having a hundred pairs of eyes watching me walk down the aisle – that was, until it was actually time to walk down the aisle. With the corset of my wedding dress pulled so tightly to keep it from slipping (it was still too big), the lengthy wait to be called, the heat, the dizzying striped carpet, and everyone talking to me at once, I very nearly fainted! However, while I was trying to keep it together, Gareth was pacing nervously in front of all our guests – so I imagine we were feeling about the same. Thankfully, the moment the doors were opened and I walked onto that aisle, I focused on the ground so as not to trip over or make awkward eye contact with anyone, and I didn’t feel so faint anymore. Then, I saw him. I saw Gareth and my nerves melted away; I was finally safe.

It was an incredible feeling, standing with the man I love as we made our vows to one another in front of family and friends. I can honestly say that marrying Gareth fulfilled a long-awaited happiness I’ve never felt before. Our wedding day was the most magical of our entire lives, and I couldn’t be more grateful than to have married my best friend in the whole entire universe ❀

Once the ceremony was over (in the blink of an eye!), photos had been taken, and speeches had been absolutely smashed out of the park, the party started – and what an amazing party it was! Those of our invited guests who gifted their time to support us, as we embark on the next exciting chapter of our lives, were treated to the most wonderful night of music, dancing, laughter, and joy as we all celebrated the power and the magic of love – thank you, all πŸ˜€

I’m hoping to write a full account of mine and Gareth’s wedding one day (when I can find the time to), although I’m always so busy it’s taken 4 months to write this blog post, and it still feels half-written! Haha. I hope you’ve enjoyed this account of the best day of our lives anyways πŸ™‚

Thank you for supporting my journey, literary and otherwise!

Best wishes,

Dannika <3

Mental Health Awareness, Uncategorized, Writing

For 10th September

As I write, at this very moment, I have absolutely no idea where this post will lead…

I’m not sure how much you know of me, so as a brief recap: I was in a toxic relationship for five and a half years, married on 10th September 2016, left him on 20th July 2018 when I discovered he’d been having an affair, then was officially divorced on 10th April 2019.

That relationship left me with scars so deep I’m not sure they’ll ever disappear. However, with infinite thanks to my phenomenal family, wonderful boyfriend, and amazing friends, those scars are fading more with each passing day.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of that relationship, other than to share that because of the abuse (emotional and sexual), the betrayal, the torment I endured at the hands of a narcissist, I am who I am today. Though no, he deserves no credit. The strength it took to endure that relationship, combined with the courage to walk away, belongs solely to me. I acknowledge the reality that without him, I may not have realised the extent of my power – to which I allow acceptance of my experiences, as opposed to regret.

After being severely hurt by a person you believed loved you, many people advise you to ‘forgive and forget’. Unless you’ve been through the devastating emotive spiral following any form of betrayal, you could never understand how impossible forgiveness is. Having been raised a Christian, I can fathom the freeing effects of forgiveness – though something you’re never taught is how to handle hate. I’ll see the good in someone before I’ll see the bad; an aspect of my personality that has landed me in countless difficult situations that could have been avoided had I trusted my instincts, that aforementioned relationship a case in point. Something he forced me to feel that I had never, ever known before was hatred, akin to facing a nefarious inner enemy on a daily basis. While that could have easily led to me losing myself, I chose to live to the full instead.

It has been an arduous road littered with unforeseen pitfalls, though finally, I can say with deserved pride that I no longer hate the man who hurt me – I pity him.

I am thankful for every blessing in my life, however seemingly small. I love wholeheartedly, I embrace my flaws yet work tirelessly to improve, I truly care about making a difference for the better, and I am no longer a victim of the relentless inner torture that followed all the forms of betrayal I’ve known.

I’ve been reading Othello by William Shakespeare as part of my university course, and this line struck me, “To mourn a mischief that is past and gone / Is the next way to draw new mischief on”

The reason I spiraled in a whirlpool of self-doubt, lack of confidence, and depression for so long was because I worried over my own flaws to the extent I’d mistrust anyone who claimed to love or accept them. All I could see was my failures, my struggles, my physical imperfections. I suffered panic attacks and nightmares, drowned in flashbacks of the past as I tried desperately to force myself to see light in my future. I was so suffocated by the damage done to me that I was afraid to swim out of that darkness in case what I met with would be worse. If you’re currently in that headspace, please know that you are not alone. You never have been. And you know what? When you fight through that riptide trying continuously to pull you under, eventually you will reach the surface – and my goodness is it extraordinary!

I used to care so deeply about what other people thought that I ended up in a relationship that could have very well led me to a fate worse than divorce. Please stop trying to fit society’s idyllic image of who it expects you to be. So what if society dislikes your life choices – provided you aren’t causing harm to anyone else and you aren’t doing anything illegal, just be yourself. It does take a heck of a lot of courage to be yourself in a world so enamoured with convention, but you’ve got to embrace who you are because life is too damn short to waste.

The 10th September 2016 was fantastic, though my mind has blocked any record of him from it. All I remember when I recall that day is family and friends being together in happiness, laughing and smiling, forgetting miseries past, nor considering sadness yet to come – everyone soaked in a rare sense of togetherness on a day I unintentionally designed to evolve around the enjoyment of others. So I don’t regard it as ‘my wedding day’ because it wasn’t. The fact I married the wrong man that day was secondary to the joy that day brought to those who attended. Therefore, I have made a promise to myself that on the 10th September every year I will celebrate my power – whatever you have been through, I implore you do the same. Nobody’s experiences ought to be compared to anyone else’s, for we all have unique perceptions of what we’ve been through. Let’s make 10th September a day of compassion without comparison.

The strength you possess within may not reveal itself through convention. Be kind, but please, be yourself! Don’t fall into the trap of being controlled by the vision of yourself you believe best pleases others.

Thank you for reading!

Best wishes,

Dannika <3

Wedding dress comparison 11th Sept 2016 to 4th May 2019 πŸ™‚
* My beautiful pony Eira still gives the best cwtches! *