Galentine's Insta Social

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Or, should one want to go all hashtag on your ass - #galentinesattrof!

Back in mid-January I was lucky enough to be the recipient of something rather darn wonderful - an invitation to join the 'Galentine's Insta Social' squad of terrific-trio dreams...aka Rabya, Rida, and Lucy in helping them plan their first Galentine's in the city! Able to bring a little rub-shoulders nobby-ness to the proceedings (that is, reaching out to a PR I know...makes me sound swish when, really, we all know swish I ain't!) and sort a venue in the Northern Quarter's Trof, I was delighted to partake in some behind-the-scenes action and witness the gals at work, chatting up a storm about what-to-dos, and how-to-dos, as well as join in with general, can't-believe-it's-happening enthusiastic natterings!

Barely a 10 minute walk from mine (ok...maybe 12, 10 might be pushing it, especially if no-matter-the-height-heels are involved...and they were!), the day started with goody-bag wrapping and ended with (made by Sinead) cake-eating...which is always A-bloody-OK with me! An opportunity for 15-odd insta-chums to come together and chinwag their...chins off, the day proved a most perfect of it’s-all-happening experiences, with 3 jam-packed hours whizzing by in an almost blink-and-we-missed-it fashion thanks to exhilarating, amped-up-by-the-excitement conversation, glasses of fizz (always good for whetting one’s might-be-a-little-nervous whistle), and a mutual love for all things meet-online-friendships.

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It’s hard for me to put into words how experiences like this make me feel. Back when I was a young’un, I was naturaly drawn to making conversation with people, prone to a love for new friendships and connecting with others (you should have seen me on our summer holidays - I was a seek-out-another-kid-to-talk-to FIEND). Then came teenagedom and I struggled beyond anything I could put into words (and, trust me - not that I’d want to) with female friendships, that comparison-to-the-popular-kids-itis good and make-me-feel-uncomfortable-in-my-skin strong.

It wasn’t until I went to university, aged 26, that I started to feel myself at-ease around women again, partly to do with my feeling like the ‘grown-up’ one (and, thus...maybe a bit more I-have-things-to-share (my own type of) wise), and partly to do with the fact those I shared space with almost 5 days a week were rather bloody fantastic. Then a brief stint in Sheffield happened, where I met one of my super-close, don’t-ever-want-to-let-her-go buddies, Charly, plus a snowballing of my #taleswithfriends global community, 6 of whom I met the following February in Birmingham for my first insta-get-together.

Back to Galentine’s...when I moved to Manchester, I didn’t really know anyone. I changed that by getting to know the city and its people through instagram #s, commenting and conversing, and then reaching out via DM to arrange a proper reet good natter over a cuppa (and cake...always cake). Now, 18 months on, I’m proud and honoured (and at times, frankly overwhelmed with surprise) to say I have handfuls of friends here in the city, of which over...golly, I don’t know...80% of them are female, the majority of them ‘grammers with a mutual appreciation for the creative.

Which is why, then, I am a shout-it-from-the-rooftops supporter of experiences like Galentine’s...because I know I wouldn’t have got through these past 18 months in the city...nay, last 5 years since moving from home...if it weren’t for the friendships I made through this (at times marmite-y) app. An APP of all things! Since starting #taleswithfriends back in January 2016, I’ve been motivated, encouraged, and uplifted by the power of made-online female friendships, and I 100% am all the better (and a better me) for them. And, after loving the feeling I had coming away from the #galentinesattrof group, I’m all the more determined to take next-steps (well, with my thoughts, at least) and start putting together my first Unfold The Day social (which makes me vom a little in my mouth because it sounds hideously all about me, which it most definitely is NOT, I promise!).

My end goal has been the same since 2015 - to host a summer camp-esque retreat in some rural landscape (...although now I’m thinking city landscape, too!), to get back to basics, AND fulfil my attend-summer-camp dreamings I’ve had since I was a used-to-watch-Bug-Juice teen. To get there, however, I first need to lay me a foundation stone to help me along the path and that, I’ve decided, will come with the arrangements of small meetups, dedicated to getting to know each other, via the city.

The first will be this Spring

There, I said it. And so it shall be done!

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