Let me share with you my female role models this International Women's Day

Every woman is another's role model.

When I was younger, my older cousin was mine. I was obsessed with her - my older, cooler cousin. I wanted blonde, straight hair like hers, I wanted to be clever and go to university like her, I wanted to drink Smirnoff Black Ice like her - I basically just wanted to be her. (In a completely non-stalker-ish way, honest!)

Other young girls idolise celebrities, family members, friends. But every female is a role model to another.
Whether a businesswoman, police officer, teacher, or just a friend, we all have people we idolise and look up to, or even aspire to be like. Sometimes it's people we don't even know.

There are so many amazing, inspirational women in my life who I admire, who I want to be more like, and who are my role models today - some I know, some I don't. My family and friends inspire me every day. My work colleagues and my bosses show me that anything is possible if you persevere, work hard and are driven.

If we all look around us, we will see we are surrounded my inspirational women who are the best kinds of role models we could wish for. Today, and everyday, it is important we celebrate successes and achievements of the phenomenal females around us.

I'm going to use today - International Women's Day - to tell you a bit about the role models and inspirational women in my life, and why I look up to each of them for completely different reasons.
My mum

Me and my mumma.
My mum is an absolutely incredible lady. I know everyone says that about their mum, and so they should, but mine really is.  She always puts other people before herself, even when things haven't been all too easy for her.

She's always pushed me to be my best, encouraged me to follow my dreams, and never stood in my way. We've laughed together, cried together and screamed at each other over the years, but I couldn't live without her. She's incredibly brave, will always speak her mind, and is always there for her family and friends. She's full of the best advice, even if I've not always thought so at the time, and she is always at the end of the phone (literally, it's never out of her hand!)

If I can be half as good of a mum as she is, then I will be incredibly happy with myself.

Love you mumma x

My best friend

My beautiful best friend.
Soph and I have been best friends since school and have been through every exciting life event together. We've grown up together - sharing every part of each other's journey.

Soph is a little pocket rocket. She may only be small, but she is feisty, strong-willed, honest and loyal. She will always speak out for what she believes in and stand up for her loved ones without hesitation. She's incredibly forgiving, trustworthy and one of the nicest, genuine girls to exist. She handles everything thrown at her with such grace and is a great person to have around in a crisis (I should know, I've had plenty!) She always makes time to be there for her family and friends, even if things are difficult.

We've had countless numbers of ups, and a few downs, but they've made us the friends we are today. She's not scared to tell me if I'm being an idiot, to point out if something I'm doing isn't right, or to make suggestions different to mine. I admire her honesty and her good heart every single day. 

I cannot wait for all our future adventures - you're going to make the best wife and, one day, the best mum ever, Soph. Love you x

My uni girls

Liz, Gina, me and Han - #GirlPower
I couldn't have got through three of the most difficult years of my life without these ladies. University was an absolute ball, don't get me wrong, but it was also hard, hard work and super stressful.

We've all kept really close since uni and I could not be more proud of what they have all achieved and where they are now.

Throughout uni they all worked so, so hard - juggling jobs, hobbies, societies and relationships. Nothing was ever too much or too difficult for them, they handled everything thrown at them. Now, they're each pursuing their dream career, continuing their hard work every single day. Their determination to get where they are now, and to succeed, is admirable, and completely deserved after all the hard work they have put in. Each of them is pursuing a completely different career path but all are experiencing huge successes.

They are strong, independent women who I am immensely proud to call my friends. 

My Slimming World consultant

Beautiful Beth pictured in a snap from her Facebook.
Beth first contacted me through work, asking me to do a story about her new Slimming World group launching at the leisure centre. She told me her story about how she became a consultant after following Slimming World herself. Her bravery, to tell a complete stranger about the reasons she struggled with her weight, struck a chord with me straight away. 

When I realised I needed to do something about my own expanding waist line, Beth was the first person I got in touch with. When I went to her group she made me feel so welcome and at ease, despite how terrified and nervous I was.

Every week Beth inspires me and all the other members of her Slimming World group. She talks us through difficult times, celebrates good times with us, and shares every step of our battle with the bulge with us. I swear, she's more like a therapist than a weight loss consultant.

I owe so much to Beth and her motivational words. She's helped me regain my confidence, made me feel better about myself and encouraged me when I hit hurdles. I so admire her for giving up so much of time to help others feel good about themselves and boost people's confidence. 

Beth epitomises one of the many quotes I have seen on Instagram today about International Women's Day - "real queens help fix each other's crowns" - and that's Beth to a T.

Sarah Tremble

Sarah celebrating the launch of her female-only gym.
Again, I met Sarah through work. I got in touch with her about two years ago after learning she was opening her own female-only gym in town. This, in itself, is an amazing thing to celebrate on International Women's Day.

But how Sarah has made her business flourish is amazing. She works insane hours - I literally don't know how she does it. She hardly ever has a day off, and when she does she usually ends up going into work or doing something to do with work.

Not only is she an amazing businesswoman, who has created her own little empire, but she is a fabulous role model. She encourages women to support each other, rather than compete with each other. Her gym is such a friendly environment where no judgement is passed. She builds up her client's confidence, helps them flourish and empowers women to feel comfortable in their own skin. Empowering women every single day is such an achievement.

Christina Gabbitas

Christina at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement awards last year.
Another lady I met through work! Christina is a children's author, businesswoman, poet, voiceover, publishing extraordinaire. She has so many strings to her bow I am convinced she has an extra day in her week to everyone else.

Christina works incredibly hard in every aspect of her career to change lives, to discuss topics usually tabooed and to make a difference. She has won so many awards, accolades and recognitions for her work to encourage children to speak out about abuse. Her safeguarding book has been praised by children's charities, parents and schools alike who have commended her for tackling a tricky subject with sensitivity.

She's also organising a huge reading festival for later this month in Selby, which will see thousands of schoolchildren enjoy storytelling sessions with authors. Christina dedicates so much of her time to helping others, improving reading standards, and ensuring children fall in love with reading again. Her success is all down to her own hard work and determination, which is an incredible thing to celebrate.

Yorkshire Rows

The inspirational Yorkshire Rows when they arrived in Antigua.
These four ladies are just inspirational. There are so many other words that could be used to describe them, but that's the best fit in my book.

They sailed into the record books last year after becoming the oldest all-female crew to row across any ocean. They took part in the Tallisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which saw them row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. A challenge that's so tough, more people have been into space than taken part.

All of them are mums, all of them have full-time jobs, and none of them let any of this stop them. And why should it? Just became women are mums, and hold down homes and full-time jobs, why should they not be able to go on adventures?

If they're not the best advert for age being no barrier to pursue your dreams, I don't know what is. Their support and love for each other saw them complete one of the toughest physical challenges out there. They have inspired so many other ladies - and men - to do things that they maybe would've thought they couldn't. Whether it be to run in a 10k, or a half marathon, or just to take up a new sport or hobby.

They're incredible women who deserve all the recognition they are receiving, and more.

Part-Time Working Mummy

Photo from Part-Time Working Mummy on Facebook.
I stumbled across Rachaele Hambleton's hilariously honest Facebook blog after some of my friends liked and shared her post. She blogs about the highs and lows of parenthood - not something I can actually relate to at the moment - as well as sharing insights into her fabulous family life.

Rachaele is a mum of three girls and step-mummy to two boys. She supports so many incredible causes, primarily domestic violence charities, having raised tens of thousands of pounds to help women who flee violent relationships. She is a voice for so many who feel like they don't have one.

Most recently she has spoken out about bullying, appearing on This Morning with her teenage daughter Betsy to talk about the latest social media bullying craze that's sweeping the country.

Rachaele makes mums everywhere feel like they're not failing. She's the realistic voice who tells it how it is. She makes mums realise it's normal and natural to struggle, and it's ok to be glad when the "mini turds" (as she affectionately calls them) have gone to bed and you can have some me-time. She reassures women all over that how we feel is normal. 

I am now obsessed with her page, always looking to see if there's an update I've missed. Whether it be tales of her and 'bird boy' going to Sainsbury's or a gorgeous photo of one of her brood, she tells it how it is. Her honesty, her compassion and her support will help so many mums who, no doubt, feel like they are failing to realise that, actually, they are doing pretty well. 

She's definitely someone I look up to and aspire to be like when I have my own mini brood.

Stephanie Hirst

The gorgeous Stephanie Hirst and myself at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards.
I absolutely blood love this woman. She is inspirational to everyone - no matter what gender.

I used to listen to Hirsty every single morning on my way to school - I grew up with her. She's one of those people that you feel like you know, even before you've even met them.

When Stephanie announced in October 2014 that she was going through gender reassignment therapy I felt a huge pang of pride. Pride for a 'friend' who I didn't even know. She became an icon to trans people everywhere, speaking out about the issues and being someone that millions of people could look up to.

Stephanie continues her amazing work to speak out her experiences growing up and the battles she has faced in her personal and professional life. She is hugely talented, exceptionally brave and a totally gorgeous person inside and out. 

Happy International Women's Day!

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