So, we're just about to start packing our things up to head off to our new life in the country confines of Shropshire. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Leeds and out into the sticks. Whilst 90% of me is thrilled and excited, there's just that little part of me that will miss this big old Yorkshire city.
I guess it's where I did my growing up and it holds lots of good and happy memories for me. Me and Rick did quite a bit of clubbing when we first came to the city and spent many nights and early mornings talking and whispering sweet nothings into each others ears in corners of clubs or dancing the night away on a sticky dance floor. We then spent Sunday cuddled up on the sofa recovering with MacDonald's milkshakes and sugary sweets.
It's funny now that back then I was coming home at 5am, these days I'm waking up at 5am and the only sweet nothings you'll hear me whispering is into the ears of two little babies whom I'm trying to get back to sleep!!
Leeds was where I became a fitness instructor, at Virgin Active and it's crazy to think that over the 9 years that I've been there I've probably spoken with nearly 500 people, maybe more, from all walks of life. I think being a fitness instructor is like being a hairdresser or a priest, people like to confide in you and tell you some of the deepest dilemmas or darkest secrets. Yes whilst their sweating away on the treadmill they like to fill you in on their 16 year old daughters pregnancy or the fact that their having an affair with a married man who happens to be their best friends husband! There's been many a time when I was meant to be devising an exercise programme with someone and instead we've spent the whole hour discussing their love life or lack of it! But you know what, I enjoyed it, I loved that part of the job, I think maybe it's because I'm a nosy bugger and love to find out about people's lives - hence my obsession with reality shows - so always happy to listen. Or maybe that people felt comfortable enough to open up to me and for that I feel truly honoured.
Those of you who know me, know that I love fitness, so other good part of the job was that I got paid for working out - I almost feel I know what it's like to be a footballer - getting paid to do something you love - although unfortunately I didn't get the same wage slip!
There would be some weeks where I would be teaching 2 or 3 classes a day, but the buzz I got from being up in front of people and seeing them both wince in pain but also smile at the end, gave me more energy than a bottle of Red Bull. I'm a total believer in "it's got to hurt a little to get the shape you want". If you're mascara is not running down the side of your face or you've not got blotchy fake tan by the end of a session then you've wasted a work out.
What I secretly loved about teaching classes, is for that one hour or so I'm so much more confident and self-assured. It's like the little Leah who was fearless and feisty suddenly breaks through the more shy and reserved older exterior of myself. I just let go..it's like exhaling after a big long breath.
Whether or not I go back to fitness when the twins are a little older I'm not sure, but I feel
grateful for the opportunity to make people feel good about themselves and for them to appreciate me for doing it.
I also went to university in Leeds at the not so tender age of 23. I'd put it off for many years in the fear that I was not clever or determined enough to get a degree. But the niggle turned into a very big itch that I needed to scratch. So I enrolled on a 3 year English and Media course and smugly can say I came out with a 2:1 BA Hons, although that was not without hard work and I still get fidgety when I think out the many all-nighters I had to sit through in order not to miss a deadline for an essay - as I never quite learned that leaving things to the last minute did nothing for my stress levels. The funny thing is that even now, 6 years on, I still have a recurring dream that I never graduated or I didn't do an exam that would enable me to graduate and I wake up in a cold sweat thinking I'll have to go back to uni and do it all again!!
Of course the one BIG memory I'll have of living in Leeds is that it was where my two little treasurers were conceived and born. It's almost like the end of a film and now we're all riding of into the sunset to start a new life, and I'm hoping that unlike most sequels our one will be better than the first part!!