Thorpe Park Fright Nights 2018 Press Evening

Thorpe Park Fright Nights 2018 Press Evening

Hey guys!

So on Thursday night I was lucky enough to have been invited to the Thorpe Park press evening where we were exclusively allowed to see all of their plans for their Fright Nights 2018.

They had five rides open which were; The Walking Dead: The Ride, The Swarm, Stealth, Colossus and Nemesis Inferno, all of which were ran extremely frequent and efficiently. They also had two ‘Horror Zones’ which were brand new for 2018, called Terror at Amity High and The Big Top Showtime. Then they also had multiple mazes open too, the returning of The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare, Platform 15, SAW Alive Horror Maze and Containment. And then brand new ones which are The Walking Dead: Do or Die, Vulcan Peak, Deep Creek Woods, Blair Witch and Screamplexx.

I must say that the whole evening was incredible, the actors were all amazing, they were all very realistic in their characters as well as very interactive with people’s videos and photos which was nice as most people were recording and taking photos for their vlogs/blogs/social media etc.

Overall I had a really good night, it was scary, creepy and honestly just an unreal experience getting us ready for Halloween. I just want to thank Thorpe Park for the invitation, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I am honoured to have been a part of their VIP press night. I have posted some photos across my social media platforms, please do check them out to get an insight into the night and the experience.

I definitely recommend taking a visit if you are looking for a spooky event leading up to Halloween. If you are planning on visiting, definitely book online as soon as you possibly can because I know that this even is extremely popular every year and books up fast!

Thank you for reading!

zoelouisesmithx

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CRIME SERIES: The UNSOLVED Murder of JonBenét Ramsey

CRIME SERIES_ The UNSOLVED Murder of JonBenét Ramsey

Hey guys! 

So today’s post is the first of my new Crime Series, all about crimes, criminals, evidence, court cases and everything else involved. These posts will be posted hopefully every Friday or every other Friday depending on how busy I am with my work, but they will be a lot more frequent than I have been posting. So today I am starting with JonBenét Ramsey, really hope you find it as interesting reading as I did researching!

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JonBenét Patricia Ramsey was born on August 6th 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA to her parents John and Patsy Ramsey. She had an older brother called Burke Ramsey. JonBenét was an American Child Beauty Queen who was regularly entered into child beauty pageants by her mother Patsy Ramsey who was a former beauty queen herself.

JonBenét was killed on either the 25th or 26th of December 1996, aged 6 years old, the police are unsure of the exact date. The official cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation and craniocerebral trauma, which is a traumatic brain injury. They believe there was a blunt forced trauma to the head which caused a broken skull and then she was strangled by a garrote (a wire/chord) which was found tied around her neck.

On the 25th of Decmber around 10pm the Ramsey family return home from a Christmas dinner/party at a friends house. JonBenét fell asleep in the car on the way home so was taken straight to bed. This is all we know in the timeline of events, until the next morning at 5:52am when Patsy Ramsey, JonBenét’s mother calls 911. The following conversation happened:

Patsy: Police

911: What’s going on ma’am?

Patsy: 755 15th street.

911: What’s going on there ma’am?

Patsy: We have a kidnapping. Hurry, please!

911: Explain to me what’s going on. Okay?

Patsy: There… We have a… There’s a note left and our daughter’s gone.

911: A note was left and your daughter is gone?

Patsy: Yes.

911: How old is your daughter?

Patsy: She’s 6 years old. She’s blonde, 6 years old.

911: How long ago was this?

Patsy: I don’t know, I just got the note and my daughter’s gone.

911: Does it say who took her?

Patsy: What?

911: Does it say who took her?

Patsy: No! I don’t know. There’s a… There’s a ransom note here.

911: It’s a ransom note?

Patsy: It say’s SBTC. Victory…… Please.

911: Okay, what’s your name? Are you Kath…?

Patsy: Patsy Ramsey, I’m the mother. Oh my god. Please.

911: Okay, I’m sending an officer over okay?

Patsy: Please.

911: Do you know how long she’s been gone?

Patsy: No I don’t. Please, we just got up and she’s not here. Oh my god, please.

911: Okay, calm…

Patsy: Please send somebody.

911: I am honey.

Patsy: Please.

911: Take a deep breath and…

Patsy: Please hurry, hurry, hurry.

911: Patsy? Patsy? Patsy? Patsy?

You can listen to the call here, if you wish to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFMrNtTPaSY

The weird thing about the phonecall is the fact that at the end of the call when Patsy thought she had ended the call, you can hear her speaking, which for us is completely impossible to hear what she is saying or how she is saying it, however the police enhanced the audio and said that the tone in which Patsy was speaking completely changed once she thought she was no longer on the phone to 911. Kimberly Archuleta was the 911 operator on the phone and she said that Patsy immediately changed once she stopped speaking with her. She also said that she heard Patsy say ‘Okay we’ve called the police, what do we do now?’ There is also enhanced audio of the last 6 seconds of the call, in which police stated you could hear 3 voices, Patsy, John and Burke. Which is strange as the parents had said Burke was asleep at this time and had been the whole time. Apparently in the enhanced audio you can also hear Burke saying ‘What did you find?’ which is a strange thing for a 9 year old to be saying.

At 5:59am, just three minutes after the 911 call ended the Boulder Police arrived at JonBenét’s house. The family had also invited all of their friends and family around to the house. The strange thing is that police allowed this knowing it was a potential crime scene but did nothing to protect any evidence there may have been which is probably why nearly 22 years later, nobody has been caught for this crime. A lot of the evidence was contaminated due to the police allowing all of the friends and family in the crime scene.

When police arrived the first thing they did was search the house for any sign of a forced entry, which they didn’t. One officer named Rick French went to the basement door but when he seen it was secured by a wooden latch that was still intact he turned away and didn’t enter the basement, which turned out to be a critical error.

The police then decided to look over the ransom note as at this point they still believed this was a kidnapping. There were so many weird things about the ransom note. A lot of it does not make sense and that is one of the reasons that people believe Patsy had actually wrote it herself. It was left on their stairs and was two and a half pages long. The FBI actually told the police that it was very unusual for such a note to be written at the crime scene. In a CBS Documentary they timed 4 different people writing out the exact note and it took no less than 20 minutes, on top of that the 4 people already knew what they were writing so did it a lot quicker than the person who wrote the original and would have been making it up as they wrote it. They also wrote a draft before the final letter and they also used Patsy’s pen and notebook and after writing the note they placed the notebook and the pen back exactly where the Ramsey’s normally kept them, which is really strange considering the body was in the house at the time and they could have been easily caught.

The ransom note asked for $118,000 which is a weird amount as it is suspiciously close to the amount that John had received as a bonus that year from his work, so this would suggest it was someone either in the family or someone very close to the family who would have known this figure otherwise why would they ask for that specific amount of money? The ransom note also said to not call the police, which some people found strange that the first thing the family did was call the police as oppose to following the instructions to get their daughter back. The ransom note also had some really weird lines in it, starting off by saying that they were a group of individuals who represented a foreign faction which is a really strange thing to start a ransom note off with, belittling themselves oppose to asserting their authority and power as someone who is in charge of this situation. The other strange thing about this was the foreign part. Throughout the note, there were some complicated words that were spelt correctly but then some of the more simpler words were spelt incorrectly. Forensic and writing analysis professionals whose expertise is note/hand writing said it is as though the person writing it tried to come across as though their native language wasn’t English and they had wrote things like that on purpose. They also said that it comes across as though the person writing it has purposely tried to change their handwriting. At first there was a lot of effort put into changing the way in which they wrote, but as the note went on it became sloppy and the writing kept changing throughout. There were also some lines throughout the note which were from popular movies, which is strange. The police believed that the note was staged because it did not have any finger prints on and there was also a practice draft written with the pen and notepad from the Ramsey’s house.The professional forensics also said that it seems as though it was wrote by a female as there were a lot of maternal language throughout it, which is another main reason people think that Patsy wrote it. This is also why the police made Patsy and John give samples of their own handwriting to compare it to the ransom note. John was immediately ruled out of writing the note, however Patsy was undetermined as to if she had or hadn’t wrote the note as there was a lot of similarities between the way the ransom note was written and the way Patsy wrote, which is why a lot of people then started to believe it was her. A Colorado Bureau of Investigation report stated that ‘there are indications that the author of the ransom note is Patricia Ramsey’ however they could not definitively prove it. It is also strange to note that the ransom note was written whilst the dead body was in the house, I feel as though personally, in that situation surely the family would have looked around the house? Why would someone spend so much time writing a ransom note and the draft note whilst the body was in the house knowing someone could have caught them so easily?

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At this time a forensics team were dispatched to the house. The police initially thought that JonBenét had been kidnapped, so therefore the only room in the house that was cordoned off to prevent contamination was her bedroom. No other room in the house was protected from contamination of evidence, which I believe is very costly in this case, as you’ll soon find out. Victim advocates also arrived at the house, as well as more friends and family. Visitors were picking things up, cleaning surfaces and walking around, potentially destroying any evidence in the house. John then made arrangements to pay the ransom, so at 8am Detective Linda Arndt arrived at the house to await the kidnappers instructions, however there was never an attempt to claim the ransom money.

At 1pm, the police then suggested John and his friend Fleet White went and searched the house one more time to see if ‘anything seemed amiss’. The first place John and Fleet searched was the basement. John opened the wooden latch that the Officer French had looked at and he found JonBenét’s body inside. When he found the body she had a nylon cord around her neck and wrists, duct tape over her mouth and her torso was covered by a white blanket. The strange thing about this was the fact that her hands were tied on top of her jumper so if she were alive when this happened she could have easily gotten out of it, which suggests she was already dead when her hands were tied, which is a weird thing for a killer to do after she is already dead. This is another reason as to why people believe it was just a cover up. John picked her up in a blanket and took her into the lounge and lay her down on the floor. Which as previously mentioned is huge contamination of evidence because so many friends and family had walked through the lounge, he had also completely removed her from the crime scene before it could be investigated by the forensics team, meaning all of the critical forensic evidence was disturbed. To me this is strange because if you can see your daughter is dead, surely you would do anything in your power to ensure the evidence isn’t contaminated so the police can find the killer? Someone then later put another blanket over her, which again is another massive contamination of evidence. I feel like the police handled the whole thing so badly and maybe if they had been more forceful and dealt with it in a more professional manor maybe the killer would have been caught and the case wouldn’t still be open almost 22 years later.

Just to note, 2 hours after the body was found, the Ramsey’s hired a lawyer, also once the body was found, John and Patsy stopped co-operating with the police, they refused do any police interviews however they did agree to a TV interview, they also didn’t tell the police or their lawyer about this. It is also useful to note that they did not actually do a police interview until three weeks after the murder, which is very strange as they were at the crime scene and were the last to see her alive and three weeks is a very long time to not be interviewed.

When JonBenét’s body was examined, the amount of DNA evidence found was pretty overwhelming, they found traces of two males and one females DNA under her fingernails, but it was too small and badly degraded to determine if it was blood, skin or tissue. They also found male DNA on her leggings and in her underwear. On the duct tape they also found fibre from Patsy’s jumper. However there was so much that was undetermined because none of the DNA evidence that was found was actually a match to any of the family or anyone on the polices suspect list. They also said that the DNA on the leggings could have been from the factory in which it was made and the Ramsey’s just didn’t wash the clothes before JonBenét wore them. They also think that the three different DNA samples found on her jumper could have been from one person, but it was so undetermined that DNA basically just didn’t help in any single way in this case.

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JonBenét’s autopsy revealed that she had been killed by strangulation and a skull fracture. The official cause of death being ‘asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma’. Although there was no evidence of rape, sexual assault was not ruled out. There was no semen found, however there was evidence that there had been a vaginal injury and when the autopsy was formed, it appeared that her vaginal area had been wiped clean with a cloth. At this point, JonBenét’s death was ruled a homicide (murder).

The autopsy also revealed a ‘vegetable or fruit material which may represent pineapple’ which JonBenét had eaten a few hours before her death which was undigested in her stomach. Which is strange as her parents told police she had fell asleep in the car journey home so therefore she wouldn’t have had pineapple within the few hours before her death. Police photographs taken in the home on the day that JonBenét’s was found showed a bowl of pineapple on the kitchen table with a spoon. However, both John and Patsy said they did not put the bowl on the table or feed the pineapple to JonBenét. Police reported that they found Burke’s fingerprints on the bowl. The Ramsey’s have always maintained that Burke slept through the entire thing until he was woken up hours after the police had arrived. However this is the second piece of evidence to suggest he was actually awake at some point throughout the whole thing. Firstly the three voices on the 911 call and now the fingerprints on the bowl on the kitchen table.

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In December 2003 forensic investigators extracted enough material from a mixed blood sample found on JonBenét’s underwear to establish a DNA profile. The DNA belonged to an unknown male, so this DNA was submitted to the FBI’s CODIS (combined DNA index system) which is a database that contains more than 1.6 million DNA profiles, however the sample didn’t match any profile on their database. In 2010, the case was reopened, new interviews were conducted and the latest DNA technology was used in the investigation. ABC News reported that there was no new evidence found. In September 2016, it was then reported that the investigation continues to be an active homicide case. In October 2016, new forensic analysis revealed that the original DNA actually contained genetic markers from two individuals.

An investigation took place focusing on John and Patsy but there were also over 1600 people of interest for this case. Throughout the initial investigation there were some critical errors including the contamination of evidence – previously reported, lack of experienced staff, the oversharing of evidence with the Ramsey’s and the delayed informal interviews with the parents.

Theories:

The first theory I am going to mention is a really silly one, so I won’t be going into it, but many people believe that JonBenét is actually Katy Perry because she looks like her and they believe she wanted to become famous so she reinvented herself. Which I do not believe at all.

Although the police suspected the Ramsey’s of the murder, they followed leads for intruders due to an unidentified boot mark left in the basement where JonBenét’s body was found. The suspects early in this investigation included the Ramsey’s neighbour Bill McReynolds who played Santa Clause for the family, the former family housekeeper Linda Hoffmann-Pugh and a man named Michael Helgoth who apparently committed suicide two months after JonBenét’s death. Hundreds of DNA tests were carried out to find a match to the DNA they recovered from her autopsy, to no avail. The evidence was assessed and Detective Lou Smit who had came out of retirement early in 1997 to assist with this case came up with the theory that someone broke into the house through a broken window in the basement, they then used a stun gun on JonBenét and took her down to the basement where she was killed and a ransom note was left. His theory was supported by a former FBI Agent called John E. Douglas who was actually hired by the Ramsey family. However something to note is that in the smashed window there was a spiders web in the bottom corner and this was undisturbed, so surely if someone had came in through the window and left through the window it would have been disturbed somehow?

Firstly I am going to discuss Michael Helgoth, so the police strongly suspected him due to the fact that he admitted to the murder on recording to a co-worker. He later apparently committed suicide two months after the murder, however some people believe it was not suicide and it was actually a murder as he had an accomplice in the JonBenét murder and they didn’t want him to speak out.

Secondly onto Bill McReynolds who Patsy hired to play Santa Clause in 1995 and 1996. It is highly likely that he was only questioned due to interacting with JonBenét in the days leading to her death. Both Bill and his partner Janet submitted hair, handwriting and blood samples and were cleared of any involvement in this crime, even though John and Patsy have always referred to him as a suspect even in their book ‘The Death of Innocence’ where they stated that John was highly suspicious of him.

Now onto Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, she was the former housekeeper for the Ramsey’s. Patsy said that she remembers her mother Nedra Paugh saying that Linda had once said ‘JonBenét is so pretty; aren’t you afraid that someone might kidnap her?’ However it turns out she was never really a suspect even though Patsy wrote in their book that she believed she was and that she thought at the time ‘if it’s Linda, it’s okay because she is a good, sweet person. She is just upset, she made need the money but she won’t hurt JonBenét’. Linda Hoffmann-Pugh later brought a law suit against the Ramsey’s for falsely accusing her in their book. She said she had never made the comment to Patsy’s mother and she believed that Patsy had killed her own daughter and wrote the ransom note to cover it up and John knew all about it and was helping her cover it up.

Also a person to note is John Mark Karr who was an elementary school teacher, he was arrested on August 15th 2006 when he falsely confessed to the murder. He made claims that he had drugged, sexually assaulted and accidentally killed her. He only made claims that were basic facts that were publicly known and he failed to provide any convincing details. The claims that he had drugged JonBenét were also doubted as the autopsy indicated no drugs were found in her body. No DNA evidence from the scene matched to Karr. There was also supposedly some photographic evidence that he was in Georgia at the time so it would have been impossible to have committed the crime.

Another theory is that due to JonBenét’s beauty pageant experience, she could have attracted the attention of child pornographers and paedophiles, where an attempted kidnapping had actually gone wrong and she had ended up being accidentally killed. This theory is supported by the fact that there had been more than 100 burglaries in the Ramsey’s neighbourhood in the months leading to the death. There were also 38 registered sex offenders living within a two mile radius of their home. A person to mention is Gary Howard Oliva who was identified as a suspect in October 2002 in an episode of ’48 Hours Investigates’. He was a arrested for sexual exploitation in 2016 and is a registered sex offender which supports this theory, however there is no actual evidence to support it.

Now onto family member theories. Many people believe that somebody in the Ramsey family is responsible for the death of JonBenét. As previously mentioned, the police firstly focused their attention on John andd Patsy. From their prospective, they didn’t see any evidence of a forced entry, they believed the evidence like the ransom note was staged and they also believe that they did not co-operate in helping them solve the murder of their daughter. The Ramsey’s have always denied involvement and have said that they were only reluctant in helping the police as they thought all fingers would be pointed at them and the police wouldn’t focus on the intruder who had actually committed the crime.

One theory is that Patsy had got mad and hit JonBenét when she wet the bed and after thinking she was already dead she strangled her to cover it up. She had no known history of uncontrollable anger. Burke, JonBenét’s brother also said that they didn’t get spanked and their parents had never laid a hand on either of them.

Onto Burke himself, he was nine years old at the time of the death and he was interviewed by investigators at least three times. A child psychologist said that the first two interviews did not raise any concerns about Burke and that it appeared the Ramsey’s had ‘healthy, caring family relationships’. Burke was never classed as a suspect by investigators as they reiterated many times. However one theory is that Burke was eating the pineapple that was found in the kitchen and then JonBenét went up to him and stole some pineapple out of the bowl which made Burke mad so he hit her on the head with a flash light. This is supported by the fact that police believe the blunt force trauma was caused by a flash light that they found, but something strange about this is nobody in or out of the Ramsey family claimed the flash light was theirs so it is literally just a random flash light that nobody owns. This is also supported by the fact that a year before, Burke got mad at JonBenét and hit her with a golf club which left a scar on her face meaning it is not out of character to act out and hit his sister when he got mad. Within the Burke theory there are two linking theories, one is that the hit to the head with the flash light actually killed JonBenét and the asphyxiation was staged. The second theory is that the head trauma knocked her out but her parents thought she was dead so they strangled her and that killed her. This theory is believed because people think that their parents didn’t want to lose both of their children and this is why they helped to stage the rest of the murder. Another supporting factor is that when JonBenét’s body was investigated they found two dots on her neck which were believed to have been made by a taser however when investigating this and trying to recreate these marks with a taser they couldn’t, however the dots did match up to a toy train set that Burke had and was found near the body. Some people believe that he used the train to prod her to try and wake her up after he had hit her. Another piece of evidence against him is a more recent interview he did, his first one, with Dr Phil, where he is just smiling throughout the whole thing, making people ask the question why would you be smiling when you’re talking about your sisters death? People believe he was smiling because he knows he did it and he has gotten away with it. However other people believe he was smiling because he felt uncomfortable and awkward as this was his first interview. You can see more on that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89zlpxJB6fs

For me, personally I believe that it is really strange that somebody would show up at someone’s house without any weapons, go through a window, without disturbing the spider web, go upstairs, kidnap a child, take her downstairs without her making any noise, kill her and then without panicking that you could be caught, you go back upstairs, find a notebook and a pen, practice a ransom note, then write it fully and then leave the notebook and the pen exactly where you had found them before going back downstairs, putting a blanket over the dead bodies torso and then leaving back through the broken window without getting caught on the broken glass or without disturbing the spiders web. In my opinion, I think the killer was in the house the whole time whether that be the mom, dad or brother. I think something definitely suspicious happened with Burke, why would his parents say he was asleep the whole time but there is evidence to suggest he wasn’t? I just think there is too much evidence against it being an intruder.

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There is so much more to this case than I have included and honestly I could talk for hours about it but I have put as much information as I can so you can all get an overview of the case. To this day, this case still has not been solved, almost 22 years later. What do you think? Do you agree with any of the theories? Or do you have your own theory maybe? Let me know!

Thank you for reading!

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What is next for my blog?

What is next for my blog_

Hey guys!

So as you probably know I have taken some time away from my blog and social media and I have kept myself to myself over the past few months. At this moment in time I do not feel ready to talk about why that was or what I went through to make me do that, however I am sure in time I’ll open up about those things and help others if I can.

What I will say is that around 6 weeks ago my doctor, my family and I decided it was best for me to go back on antidepressants and anxiety medication after some severe things that had happened which meant my mental health started to deteriorate. Mental health is always something I have been very open with on my website and social media because I believe it is nothing to be ashamed of and if my story can help just one other person in their journey then I will feel like it wasn’t wrote for no reason.

I am sure she won’t mind me saying, back at the end of last year I had someone email me quite upset and explained a lot about what they were going through with their partner and they didn’t feel as though they had anyone to talk to but they were directed to my website by a family member of mine and after reading my mental health posts they wanted someone to talk to. Her partner had a mental illness and she didn’t know how to cope with it or how to go about it so wanted my advice. I am in no way an expert in mental illness and I would never say that I am, however I was there to listen to her and help her when she was at a low point and I am so happy now that her and her partner are so much better than ever. Things like that are why I do my blog, because someone felt in their darkest moment that they could email me and that to me is an incredible feeling.

I am starting a few series on my blog over the next few weeks. One will be all about mental health, talking to people about their journey and seeing it from other peoples point of view, not only my own. If you are interested in taking part in this series please do email me at zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk and I can give you some more information. Do not worry if you aren’t a confident writer, we can work together to create something you’re happy with. You can also remain anonymous if you wish to do so.

The second series I am creating is all about crime and mysteries. Inspired by Bella Fiori on YouTube, who is incredible by the way and if you haven’t watched her Mystery Monday videos you definitely should do! I love watching her videos about crimes, unsolved and solved, I love reading about crimes and researching, so this series will be all about crimes, criminals and all of those kind of things. It will include, the crimes, theories, suspects, court cases, evidence etc. The criminal posts will be all about what the criminals did, evidence, interviews, court cases, prison sentences etc. I am super excited for this because I love reading these sorts of posts so I will be creating some that has all the information all in one post instead of people having to read 10 posts to understand a crime. If anyone has any ideas of cases/criminals you want me to research and write about do message me on social media and let me know!

Now my head is a lot clearer I am ready to start writing again and I am honestly so excited to get up and running again!

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Collaboration Opportunities

COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES

Hi guys!

So over the past couple of years I have been so lucky to work with some incredible companies. I’ve experienced a lot, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve worked so incredibly hard with everything I have done. I feel so lucky and so grateful for the opportunities I have been given. But now, 2018, I want to continue brand collaborations of course, but I also want to collaborate with some fellow bloggers and influencers.

Firstly, companies, brands, brand owners, PR companies etc, if you want to collaborate, I am open to all ideas and collaborations. So if you want to collaborate with me, I am able to reach an audience of over 70,000 people, if this is of interest to you please feel free to click on the ‘Work With Me’ tab at the top of this page and see all of the details regarding any possible collaborations.

Now, onto influencers… If you’re a social media influencer across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc and have any ideas of how we can collaborate, whether it be photoshoots, day trips or any other ideas then please contact me using this email address: zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk, please subject  it with your username on whatever platform it is you’d like to collaborate on as well as influencer collaboration, so for example ‘@zoelouisesmithx instagram influencer collaboration‘ so I am easily able to find the emails. In the email please include all ideas you have in ways we can collaborate, no matter how many followers you have, no matter what interests you have if you feel like we can collaborate then please do email me because I want to branch out and work with more people.

Thirdly, on to bloggers! I am looking for bloggers to collaborate with on my website. Whether it be collaborative posts, feature posts or anything else you feel we could work with then again please email me on zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk and subject it with your website name and blogger collaboration, so for example ‘zoelouisesmithx.com blogger collaboration‘. Please include what ideas you have, what you’d like to write about and why you want us to work together, whether it be to raise awareness for a mental health condition you’re passionate about, gain more experience in writing, gain more confidence, branch out to a wider audience or anything else. I want to work with more bloggers and work together and gain more blogger friends, if you’re interested, even if you’re unsure on what post you’d like to do then please email and we can discuss more information. I am only going to be working with bloggers that have a similar interest in myself and fit with my reading audience.

Now lastly, onto people in general, even if you don’t have a blog and you’re not an influencer then I still want to work with you. If you’re passionate about something, fashion, gaming, mental health awareness, make up, fitness or anything else then maybe we can work together! If you like writing, you like photography or anything else that we may be able to work together with then get into contact with me because we can definitely discuss and make something work out. For this then please email: zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk. Please subject it with your name and collaboration, for example ‘Zoe Smith Collaboration‘ and include in the email what you’d like to do, any ideas, any information you think is useful for me to know, your interests, if you’re passion is photography, any work you have previously done, any photos you’ve taken etc.

I am super excited to branch out more this year so if you fit into any of the above categories then please do contact me.

Thank you for reading.

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How my life has changed since meeting Ashley Day… A more personal post

How my life has changed since meeting Ashley Day... A more personal post

Hey guys!

Today’s post is a little different, something I wanted to share so I can look back on it personally as well as to show others that anything is possible so never ever give up.

Firstly I’m going to start by explaining some things you may or may not know about the last few years in my life. Back in 2016 I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. And throughout the weeks, months and year from then I was in and out of a very very dark place. I had been through so much and seen so much and experienced so much, I just gave up and didn’t see the point in living life really. I barely went out, I barely seen my friends, I just stayed in bed most of the day and most of the night. Then during 2017, again I was in a dark place and I was diagnosed with a third illness, borderline personality disorder. A disorder I had never even heard of until I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist during my visit to Canada. It was not the best trip due to multiple reasons, but the one thing I am grateful for is that precious diagnoses which explained how I was feeling perfectly. The psychiatrist explained that the anxiety and depression were still apparent but they were not the main things I should have been focusing on back home.

When I got home from Canada I ended up going out a lot, spending a lot of time drinking in nightclubs and honestly just drinking to forget I suppose you could say.

Then in December 2017 I was in hospital really unwell with meningitis when I received an Instagram message from a lad I had never spoke to before. It was a simple message but one that made me smile when I was feeling my lowest. I never replied to any Instagram messages because a lot of the ones I received were off lads who only wanted one thing let’s be honest. But for some reason I replied, I remember sitting in the hospital bed doing a little bit of stalking on his profile when he messaged me and all I could think was how hot he looked in his pictures so I ended up replying. From that day I haven’t looked back. The whole time I was in and out of hospital he would message me checking on me and making sure I was okay. First thing Christmas morning he messaged me wishing me a Merry Christmas, the little things he said and did before we had even met meant a lot to me.

A few days after Christmas, we finally arranged to meet for the first time. The night before he rang me and we spoke on the phone for the first time and immediately we clicked, we spoke and laughed for hours and ended up falling asleep on the phone. The next day, he was late, which I have now learned is completely normal for him. However we met and we went to Merryhill just to talk, spend time with each other and see if we connected in person just as much as we had over messages and a phone call and we definitely did. We ended up staying with each other for about 9 hours, knowing I had work the next morning didn’t bother me, I just didn’t want to go home so we ended up driving around, going to a 24 hour shop, just so we didn’t have to go home yet. That night I knew I was in love, I never believed in love at first sight but after that night I definitely did because it had happened to me. The next day in work I was so happy, the whole team around me knew something was up and kept pestering me asking me why I was so happy.

Two days later we met again, this time I went to his house and met his parents, who by the way, are so lovely and I feel so grateful to have them as my in-laws to be. Since that day we’ve pretty much been inseparable, me staying at his house almost every day, spending time with each others families and just growing closer and closer together.

Some people may say things have happened quickly and yes I would agree, however I have no worries about how quickly things have happened because I completely, wholeheartedly know that he is the person I am going to marry one day. People always told me that love happens when you least expect it and that when you meet ‘the one’ you just know instantly and I truly do believe that’s the case with Ashley Day. My feelings for him are beyond anything I could have ever imagined, beyond anything I have ever felt for anyone in my life before. Sometimes you think you’re in love and everything is perfect but then when you find the person you’re supposed to spend your life with it is a completely different feeling. We still bicker and sometimes argue but within minutes (sometimes hours if I’m being a bitch), we speak and laugh it off and move forward and I honestly believe that that’s the best thing about being in love. No matter what happens you always kiss and make up and rectify situations.

I am so glad I have found Ashley. As I started this post off with, I have had a terrible few years and I never imagined I would be in the position I am in today. I feel the most content I ever have, I feel the happiest I ever have and I feel ready to live life with Ashley Day by my side. My previous post is all about Borderline Personality Disorder, a disorder I had no idea how to deal with, I know it’s a horrible disorder that makes you feel so horrible sometimes, you react badly to situations and sometimes you’re just in a horrible place, but when Ashley and I first started talking I explained some of the things I had been through and everything I had been diagnosed with and unlike so many people, he didn’t judge me, he understood, he listened and he looked after me better than anyone I had ever known before. As time has gone on, as our relationship has progressed I have told Ashley even more than I had, I’ve told him things I have never told anyone before, I have told him some of the lowest points in my life and not once have I felt judged. He’s helped me, he understood me and most of all he’s took care of me so none of those things could happen again.

I never believed in love at first sight, or you ‘just know’ when you meet ‘the one’ or you can fall wholeheartedly in love with someone within hours/days or you can move quickly into a relationship and it work. But Ashley has made me believe all of those things. I fell in love so quickly, I knew he was the one immediately and even though we’ve moved quickly we are the happiest people in the world with every aspect of our relationship.

We’ve already been through a lot as a couple, thing I won’t go into, but we are so strong because of it all and I am so grateful to everything that has happened because it’s made me fall even more in love with him.

I believe that if you’re happy, you shouldn’t care what anyone has to say about it and that people will always judge you/your relationship, will always have things to say, will always try to drag happy people down because they’re unhappy themselves so enjoy life, move quickly if it feels right, fall in love and be happy because if there is one thing I’ve learned since having meningitis + 3 other severe illnesses and being told by a consultant most people would have died in my situation, life is so short and you never know what is around the corner, so do whatever it is that feels right and makes you happy.

I feel so lucky to have him walk into my life when he did, I now no longer go out drinking every weekend, saving myself money as well as not being ill and having hangovers, I much rather enjoy staying with him, baking, driving and experiencing new things. In the short 3 months we’ve been together we’ve already experienced so much new stuff together and we have so much more planned. This time last year I never would have imagined I would find the person I was going to marry, have children with and spend the rest of my life with, but I’m a million percent sure I have now.

Now, to Ashley. I know you’ll be reading this because you support my work and always take a cheeky read, I see you. I adore you wholeheartedly. I am so grateful for everything you do for me, I am so grateful you care, you support and you never judge me. You will never understand how much that means to me. Thank you for listening to me cry, get angry and feel shitty about my past without judging me, holding me hand, wiping away the tears and ensuring you’ll never let anything like that happen to me again. Thank you for making me understand what love looks like, feels like and is. I am a billion percent sure you’re the person I will spend the rest of my life with, grow old with, make a family with, race granny mobiles with.

I know this is a more personal post than I’ve posted before, but I was feeling soppy due to everything I’ve been through in the last twelve months and I’m so grateful how much he’s helped me through in a short time and I felt the need to share it. For girls and boys alike, never settle for anything less than someone who will look after you, never judge you, support your mental wellness and never leave you when things get rough. If your partner needs support, support them. If they need help with their mental well-being then help them, guide them and support them because it is so much easier to overcome when you have someone by your side pushing you and making you believe that it’s possible.

For anyone feeling low or suffering from a mental illness or disorder or who just feels like love isn’t for them, trust me I felt all of those things throughout most of 2017, but I now have someone in my life who’s changed everything for me, who’s made me the happiest I can ever remember. Never give up on yourself, on love or on your partner. Life is so short, make memories, be happy and never hold a grudge because you’ll never move forward and find happiness if you do.

I feel like I have rambled on enough now, but I just wanted to let out some feelings because it’s been almost a year since I was in the worst place ever and now I’m in the best place ever and I just wanted to share it and show the world how special Ashley Day is to me.

Thank you for reading and see you all in a more back to normal post very soon!

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Borderline Personality Disorder

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Hey guys!

Today I  am writing about a mental illness/disorder that I knew absolutely nothing about until a psychiatrist diagnosed me with it last year during my visit to Canada. Borderline personality disorder or BPD as it is known is an illness/disorder that I was completely unaware of so when I was diagnosed I was petrified, I had no idea what it was, how you get it, is there treatment? If so how do you treat it? I had no idea whatsoever and I think it is so important for people to have the knowledge as on average 1 in 20 people will have this disorder and like me, they probably won’t know what it is.

So firstly, what are the symptoms?

  • Fear of abandonment: People with BPD are often scared of being abandoned or left alone. Even little things like a loved one being late home or going away for a few days can trigger an intense fear. It often leads to begging, being clingy, starting fights for attentions, being overly jealous, tracking your loved ones movements or even something like physically stopping you loved ones from leaving, ie; blocking a doorway etc.
  • Unstable relationships: People with BPD often have relationships that are intense but short-lived. You fall in love quickly, believing that each new person you fall in love with will be the one to make you feel whole, however you end up quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or completely horrible with absolutely nothing in between. People around you often become emotionally confused from your rapid mood swings.
  • Unclear or unstable self-image: People with BPD often have an unstable sense of yourself. Sometimes you feel good about yourself, but sometimes you completely hate yourself or even can view yourself as evil. You don’t have a clear idea of who you are or who you want to be or what you want in life. As a result of this you may frequently change your jobs, friends, lovers, values, goals or even sexual identity.
  • Impulsive, self-destructive behaviours: People with BPD may engage in harmful or sensation-seeking behaviours, especially when upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. The risky behaviours may seem like they’re going to help you feel better in that moment, but they hurt those around you over the long-term.
  • Self-harm: Suicidal behaviour and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behaviour included thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. 
  • Extreme emotional swings: People with BPD commonly suffer with unstable emotions and moods. One moment you feel happy and the next you’re angry or upset. Little things that other people can easily brush off send you in to an emotional tailspin. These mood swings can often be very intense however they tend to pass fairly quickly, usually lasting just a few minutes or hours rather than long term like depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness: People with BPD often feel empty as if there is a hole or void inside of them. With extreme cases you may feel as if you’re ‘nothing’ or a ‘nobody’. This feeling is uncomfortable and people with BPD often try to fill this hole with things like drugs, food, alcohol or sex but nothing feels truly satisfying.
  • Explosive anger: People with BPD may struggle with intense anger and short temper. You may so have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit. You may yell, throw things or become completely consumed by rage. It is important to note that this anger is not always directed outwards, you may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.
  • Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality: People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thought about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality – an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out or as if you’re outside of your own body.

Something to bare in mind is that Borderline Personality Disorder is very rarely diagnosed on its own, it is often associated with depression, anxiety bipolar, substance abuse and eating disorders, however saying that it can still be diagnosed on its own, it is just very rare to do so.

Now onto the causes, how does Borderline Personality Disorder occur? 

There are many complex things happening in the BPD brain and researchers are still trying to untangle what it all means. But in essence, if you have BPD your brain is on high alert, things feel more scary and stressful to you than they do to other people. Your switch is easily tripped and once it’s on it hijacks your rational brain and makes you act in ways that aren’t always appropriate to the situation at hand. It may sound as if there is nothing you can do, after all what can you do if your brain is different? But you can in fact change your brain but training yourself with new coping mechanisms and self-soothing techniques. With time and dedication, you can change the way you think, feel and act.

Because personality is connected to identity, the term ‘personality disorder’ might leave you feeling like there’s something fundamentally wrong with who you are, but a personality disorder is not a character judgement. In clinical terms a personality disorder means that your pattern of relating to the world is significantly different to ‘the norm’. In other words, you don’t act in ways that people would expect and this causes consistent problems for you in many areas of your life, such as relationships, career and feelings about yourself and others.

Now onto three self-help tips.

  • Calming the emotional storm: You need to stop trying to fight, avoid, suppress or deny what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to feel the way you feel, no matter what those feelings are. Just experience your feelings without judgement or criticism. Let go of the past and the future and focus on the present moment. 
  • Reduce your emotional vunerability: You are more likely to experience negative emotions when you’re run down and under stress. That’s why it is important to take care of your mental well-being. You can take care of yourself by avoiding mood-altering drugs, eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, minimising stress and practising relaxation techniques.
  • Learn to control impulsive and tolerate distress: When you feel overwhelmed by difficult feelings, borderline personality disorder means you’re so desperate for relief that you’ll do anything for relief including things you know you shouldn’t be doing such as cutting, reckless sex, dangerous driving and binge drinking. It is important to recognise that these impulsive behaviours serve a purpose, they are coping mechanisms for dealing with distress, they make you feel better even if it’s just for a brief moment. Regaining control of this starts by learning to tolerate distress. It is key to change the destructive patterns. A key way to doing this is finding a quiet spot and sitting in a comfortable position, concentrating on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in slowly, pause and count to three then slowly breath out and continue doing this for several minutesYou could also watch something on TV that you enjoy, throw yourself into work, calling a friend for a chat, exercise or do something you enjoy that keeps you busy.

Next, onto diagnosis and treatment. It is very important to remember that you cannot diagnose borderline personality disorder on your own. So if you think you or a loved one may be suffering, it’s best to seek professional help at some point. BPD is often confusing or overlaps with other conditions so you need a mental health professional to evaluate you and make an accurate diagnosis. 

The support and guidance of a qualified therapist makes a huge difference in BPD treatment and recovery. Therapy has the potential to be a safe space where you can work your way through your relationship an trust issues and try new coping techniques. You should feel safe with your therapist and feel as though you can trust them to help you and guide you through, someone who makes you feel accepted and understood. You must make a commitment to therapy, attend your sessions and work hard with the therapist.

I did a lot of reading and research into BPD when I was diagnosed because I had no idea what it was or how I had got it, but once I did the research I started to realise that it was not my fault, it’s just a part of my life and brain. I worked hard learning coping mechanisms and techniques to deal with things better than I used to and overall I am a lot happier now than I ever was. With the help of my parents and my boyfriend I am finally in a good place and a happy place. 

One thing I would say if you think you could be suffering from BPD or if you know someone who could be, it is definitely push it with the doctor for a proper diagnoses. For 18 months I was put on anxiety medication and anti depressants in England with my regular doctor and therapists and it was only when I went to Canada and seen a doctor and psychiatrist out there that I was actually given a solid diagnoses and told I no longer should be taking the anti depressants or anxiety medication because it wasn’t needed and wasn’t helping me. I think the NHS is very special in our country, but sometimes the diagnoses with mental illness isn’t always accurate. In my case the doctor just threw tablets at me and assumed they would make me better and I have heard a lot of similar stories, so definitely push for a proper diagnoses if you think you have BPD, push for a session with a psychiatrist or therapist and don’t give up until you receive the help you actually need and not just tablets.

I, for one, am so grateful to the psychiatrist out in Canada for helping me to finally get a diagnoses to be able to work on because in the past 6 months or so I’ve worked on it all and I am now a million times better than I ever was. 

Another thing I would say is if you know someone suffering with BPD support them and help them through because it is honestly such a horrible place when you have something wrong with you but you don’t know why or what or how and everything just spins around in your head. I am fortunate enough to have a really strong support network around me, my parents, my best friends and my boyfriend have all supported me, listened to me and understood me, they’ve helped me through and I am honestly so grateful to each and every one of them for everything they’ve done for me.

Mental illness is something I am passionate about talking about and spreading awareness because so many people suffer in silence and are too scared to speak out in case they are judged and that shouldn’t be the case. Speak out, get help and don’t be scared to admit something isn’t right. Today’s post is something very close to my heart and I hope you have all at least learnt something from it.

Thank you for reading!

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Disclaimer: All information and facts were read and reworded from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm

 

Monkey Forest, Clue HQ + The Cheltenham Festival!

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Hey guys!

If you follow my social media, you would have seen over the past few weeks I have been experiencing a lot of new things so today I am going to talk about the main three.

Firstly Trentham Monkey Forest. I was privileged to be given complimentary tickets for my boyfriend and I to experience the monkey forest and let me tell you, it was unreal! It is nothing like a safari park where the animals are caged, instead the animals are free to roam thousands of metres of land and enjoy the freedom of their natural habitat amongst the forest. Being able to see them walk around you, right next to you even, was incredible. We both thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves animals and nature.

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The second place is Clue HQ Birmingham. Again, I was lucky enough to receive complimentary tickets for my boyfriend and I’s date night and let me tell you, it was the best date night I could have asked for. It was challenging, mentally and physically, it was entertaining and honestly I loved every single second I was in there. As discussed with the team I am unable to go into great detail regarding the whole game we played, however I can say we played their game called Hellevator and it was very hard but ridiculously fun. We didn’t manage to escape, but we are definitely going to visit again to try again to make our way out. There are different games with different difficulty levels throughout so everybody can take part from beginners to pros, it’s enjoyable for everyone. If you’re looking for something fun to do, for groups, couples, work groups or families it is definitely something I would highly recommend and to top it off, everybody involved gets a free HD photo taken at the end to remember the experience by and to me that is so so important to make memories and have the photo to remember it.

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The third and final experience was the Cheltenham Festival. If you read my previous post you’ll have seen how much I thoroughly love horse racing and I was lucky enough this year to experience the festival twice, the first day and the last day. Both days were absolutely incredible and I loved every second. A sell out crowd of 70,000 people and I can’t even describe how unreal the atmosphere was. I was lucky enough to walk away winning money instead of losing. Including Native River winning the Gold Cup, as tipped by jockey Richard Johnson exclusively on my website back in October. I was so proud of Native River and Richard, both of whom I have supported for a very very long time and I am so happy for the whole team. Overall I had an amazing experience and if you like horse racing I would say it is definitely something you need to experience, even if you don’t like horse racing I think you should still experience it all. So many people say horse racing is cruel but when you experience the Cheltenham Festival where millions of pounds worth of horses, training and work goes into, you would see just how well looked after the horses are and how well they are treated and you’d see that there is no animal cruelty in horse racing whatsoever. I was so happy experiencing the festival and I cannot wait until next years!

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Overall I’ve been having an incredible few weeks and I have so much more planned which I am super excited for. Today I finished work for 11 days and now I have nearly 2 weeks full of plans including a musical, Sam Smith in concert, Alton Towers, Safari Park and a trip to visit the Shakespeare houses, all of which I’m super excited for! I have some pretty exciting collaborations coming up also so I cannot wait for those.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’ll see you all in my next one!

 

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