•dear my little sophia•

oh my little Sophia. happy, happy birthday to you. i cant gift you nice things in person and we can’t get tipsy and dance on the high street but i can write you your letter to let you know how important and special you are to me. so here we go.

Dear Sophie, (or Sophia as i have called you since forever ago)

please forgive me for taking so long to write this letter to you. you really should have been one of the first but for some reason i couldn’t write it. each time i sat down to write to you i couldn’t find the words. charge that to my head and not my heart.

i still remember the first time we met… this shy teenager turning up to a group interview at mothercare (rip). denise was adamant on hiring you… i thought you were too quiet… she told me to remember how shy i had been at the beginning and how I had blossomed… so we hired you and i’m really bloody glad we did!

(disclaimer: she definitely didn’t say i blossomed, i’m sure it was more along the lines of ‘now you don’t shut up’ … oops)

it’s been about 8 years since we met and i honestly say that my life is infinitely better for the Sophie shaped addition to my life. i don’t’ remember when we went from boss/employee to pals; it kinda feels like we’ve always been like this. i can not imagine my life without you now. who would have thought that little one would become so very important to me? you are the little sister i never had and i wouldn’t have it any other way.

you (and leanne, hi leanna, yes, i love you too) are one of my favourite people in the world and i’m not sure i tell you enough. your friendship is unconditional; you just let me be the weirdo i am deep down and you never make me feel ‘less than’ for any of my flaws – you do of course take the piss out of them at the appropriate time which is all part of the privilege of being a best friend.

you have been by my side through the biggest transitions and heartbreaks in my life and given me some of the best advice. if there is ever a dilemma, i always come to you because you give me advice that always hits home. you always give me food for thought; you’re supportive but you’re also not afraid to tell me if i’m being a bit of a dick. we ALL need people like that in our lives! i hope that i have been able to provide that to you too. in the times you didn’t know what to say you told me just that but didn’t ignore the pain i was feeling. you just let it sit with us like an unwanted dinner guest until i’d had enough of it and got the strength to finally tell it to fuck off. that’s not an easy thing to do or deal with, so thank you.

one of the things i admire the most about you is your bravery. yes, you my little cherub are brave. you feel the fear but you do it anyway. i so wish i possessed that trait. your life is going to be so much better because of this; know that i will always be on the sidelines cheering you on. oh the places you’re going to go! i cant wait.

now i have started this letter i’m kind of finding it hard to stop writing but i will because it’s now verging on an eassy but I just have to say 2 more things i love about our friendship.

  1. that no matter how much time has passed we just pick straight up where we left off’ there is no hard feelings that it’s been 75 days since our last catch up. it just it what it is.
  2. how much we laugh. normally we’re embarrassing Leanne – remember Disney. HAH.

you are a ball of loveliness and you’ve got me forever.

i love you, squirt

xoxo M

 

 

• J- Ro •

Day 9 (I think)

JRo.

If anyone ever needs proof that opposites attract then they need look no further than us.

Honestly.

Even your Ma has commented on how different we are.

Our friendship just works though, and I’m so glad it does. I think we balance each other out.

You’re one of my most low maintenance friendships. We go months and months without any contact and then when we do chat, it’s like old times. Nothing’s changed.

I know that I can be hard work, and I know that I’m not always the easiest person for you to be friends with – sometimes our differences are glaringly obvious and that can cause some friction. I know, without you saying anything, that there have been times when you don’t know if you’re coming or going with me and for that I apologise. I want you to know that I’m glad you have stuck around though.

My first and original travel buddy – we’ve had some adventures! I love how keen you are to see the world and how educated on EVERYTHING you are. You are, without a doubt, my smartest friend.

Our adventures have taken us all over Europe and the US. The most glamorous moment of my life is still brushing my teeth in Walmart when we were RVing!! I’m so glad I got to do that with you by my side.

You have the kindest heart of anyone I know – you are my moral compass at times. Not a bad word to say about anyone (except maybe Trump), you lead with love and compassion.

Like me, you just want world peace.

I’m so glad I met you. I’m so glad I get to call you my friend.

I can’t wait to see you in May, give you a big ‘ole hug and make some more memories.

All the love, JRo. All the love

xoxo M

• Steph •

Stephanie Hall.

You Goddess.

When I try and describe my friends it’s always a hard thing to do because there are always so deliciously complex that to only use one word / one phrase would do them an injustice.

You are no different.

The best way I can describe you is this though – you’re the inner voice everyone should have.

You know how fuck boys always have a habit of coming back just as you’ve moved on? Well you always seem to have a habit of checking in just when I am about done with life and all it’s shit. How do you knoooow??? LITERALLY.

I still remember the first time I met you, just a couple of small town girls, living in a small town world (Big up Guildford). You and Gemma both got the job at Mothercare and told Diane that you didn’t know each other… then spent your first shift walking around the floor together. I remember saying to Huma “they’re obviously mates”. Didn’t hide it well, hun 😂

Then there was the jumper out the back (that was pretty traumatic) but you were just as nosy and me about it and I knew then you were just like me.

You were always down for a laugh and weren’t scared of making a fool of yourself for it and I LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU. This probably sounds rude but I’m gonna say it anyway – you wouldn’t expect someone so hot to be so funny. You’re bloody hilarious.

We’ve come along way from cleaning porches on a Sunday and being sung to by the homeless folk of Guildford (he was right, you are beautiful) and I’m so glad I’ve got to stand by the sidelines and watch you blossom into a kind hearted, successful, beautiful woman.

Instagram has such a filter on it and I know behind the happy grins and ‘carefree’ life on those squares there is a lot of hard work and effort that allows you to enjoy the best of what life has to offer. You deserve all of it and so much more.

You are such a force and I’m so glad I get to feel that in my world (sounded less dodgy in my head lol)

Keep on being you, because you are just wonderful.

I love you.

M xoxo

• Byng •

Day 7.

My Byngalyng.

I adore you.

That’s all.

No, I’m just messing with you, but I do. I really do.

You are, most probably, the funniest person I know and you have definitely taught me how important it is to be able to laugh at yourself and how much more fun life is when you laugh your way through it. Any afternoon spent with you is an ab workout. Everyone needs a friend like Byng!! (They can’t actually have you though because you’re mine and I don’t like to share too much)

One of the most genuine, kind hearted people I know. I’m so glad you’re my friend. So supportive and so easy to get along with. I do not know anyone that has a bad word to say about you. We all know I’m a bit like marmite – people either love me or hate me, but you, you’re like chocolate. EVERYONE LOVES YOU.

Always up for an adventure, be it to Norfolk or LA. Some of my favourite memories over the last decade are with you and because of you.

Shout out to that time walking down Venice Beach –

“You in the black! The sun is not your friend”

What a dick.

Thanks for sticking around.

I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years look like.

Love you, peanut cup

M xoxo

• Rachpal •

Well I’m just slightly behind on these 🙈 please forgive me!

Today, Day 6.

McCarth.

I don’t think I really need to tell you how important you are to me because, well I think you know, but I will because I can.

I fucking love you.

I might not have used my degree but the fact I got to meet you – well that is worth the Student Loan debt 😂

I’m so glad I get to do life knowing you.

I sometimes forget how much we’ve changed since we first met. I mean… jeez louise.

I still remember the first time we met.

Stood in that lecture hall to listen to Ursula harp on about Erasmus – we both wanted something more out of uni, hunting for an adventure.

“My brother’s girlfriend did it and said it was just one big party” – direct quote from you.

HELLO VALENCIA.

Theeee best 4 months.

We worked, we played, we laughed, we walked out of university lectures and placements (oops) because we’d rather be at home in one of our apartments having a cup of tea and listening to emo music.

There are far too many memories and private jokes for me to list here but a couple of my favourites are (and these won’t make sense to anyone but us)

“Yeah, yeah, yeah”

“YOU STAGGER”

“DONT LET THEM GET THE BIKES”

“Sea bass (sea bass), Scallops (scallops)”

We have the same sense of humour and I knew we were friends for life when we would lay in bed laughing for hours through the night, knowing that we’d regret it in the morning because we actually had to be adults and teach classes of impressionable Spanish children – imagine they will be about 16 now?! Might be older actually… 18? Sweet lord.

You are thoughtful, generous, kind, make a killer cup of tea. You always have an ear for anyone and you never make people feel like they’re a burden. You’ve been there for me through some of theeee worst times and through all of my mistakes (there’s been a few). Even though I’m sure there were times you wanted to shake me and tell me to buck up.

You also are the most incredible mother to those two incredible boys – they are a credit to you. If I ever have children (that little girl you were talking about the other day) I can only hope to be half the mum you are and I’d be chuffed with that. I love them more than life. I hope you know that.

You deserve all the happiness in the world.

Truly.

One in a million.

Love you, pal.

Xoxox M

• Momma Sophs •

Letter number 5 (which is a day late) is for my American Mom.

Momma Sophs,

I don’t know if there are even any words to say what I want to you.

I aim to surround myself with fierce females who I look up to, aspire to be like and you are definitely one of them… what a woman!!!

You are one of the most generous people I have ever met, period. You’re generous with everything but your time and your love

are the ones I love most! You wear your heart on your sleeve and there is quite literally nothing that you won’t do for someone you love. How lucky am I that I get to count myself as one of those people!?

I probably don’t say it enough but I love

you too. So much.

I remember talking to you on the phone when I was still at Uni with Jade and you invited me to stay with you in LA – obviously I was thrilled because, you know me, any excuse to get on a plane. The 2 week invitation slowly became a 3 month invitation and the Summer of 2013 you welcomed me with open arms and through the years you made Rincon Ave. a safe place for me. When I have a panic attack I often find myself thinking of your home because it really is such a safe space for me. It calms me down.

Thank you for that.

I also have some more thanks come to think of it.

Thank you for knowing me a bit better than I know myself.

Thank you for noticing changes in me, in my mental health before I’ve even noticed them and thank you for not being to scared to say something to me about your concerns. Not a lot of people do/would.

Thank you for reminding me it’s ok to change me my mind about everything from what pants I’m wearing to whether or not I want to move across the world on my own.

Thank you for never judging me and giving me a safe space to completely be myself.

Thank you for making the best lasagne in the world and for always freezing some so I can take some home with me.

Thank you for always trying to remember that I hate people talking to me for the first 10 minutes after I wake up 😂 You rarely remember until I grunt a response at you but to do try haha.

Thank you for being part of some of my favourite moments in my life – every time I hear ‘Happy’ by Pharrell I think about us in the apartment in Naples ♥️

Thank you for always insisting that we see each other at least once a year.

“I really like it”.

Love you!

Can’t wait to see you in May

♥️♥️♥️ Your Michaela baby!!

• Mark •

Hey, pal.

Day 4. Here’s your letter.

I was going to be a little bitch and make you wait for ages for it but then I was feeling sentimental and changed my mind.

Aaaah, where to start?

Mr Derry Dude.

The Will to my Grace, the Ant to my Dec, the Clive to my Dolores.

Congratulations on making it to ‘friend’ status after being an acquaintance for the last 9 years. Clap for the heavyweight champ 👏🏼

God bless Kingston university and the Big Brother house on Grove Crescent for bringing us together. I miss living with you so bad, we had such fun. I mean… at the age of 21 we were still building forts and sliding down the stairs on mattresses. The house was a shit hole anyway really so it didn’t really matter if we messed it up more. Shit digs. Fucking brilliant memories.

When I think of some of the stuff we have got up to over the years together… I hate myself for not filming it… quality viewing. Although thinking about it, I’m not sure anyone but us would find it amusing. How many times have we been sat there cracking up at stuff and everyone else was looking at us like we’re high?!

Our adventures have taken us to many places. (The adventures of Dolores and Clive).

LA (more times than I can count now), strutting up 5th avenue in NYC, meeting prisoners in Alcatraz, dance parties at the Cape, booty popping to Queen B 🐝 in Dublin, visiting my boys in Liverpool…and then some.

I remember when I bought you your ticket to LA back in 2014 (?). You were so used to flying shitty planes to Europe and to and from London that you were convinced those seats weren’t for us 😂 Like Jack Dawson going to dinner in first class in Titanic. You peasant.

Some of the best memories though are of us just navigating our way around life in London fresh out of Uni. Paddy’s day 2012 in Derry was up there too. Me with Ginger hair (remember that phase in my life?), Irish flag wrapped around me, dancing alone in a club. Such a treat.

I can say, hand on heart, that no one in this world (except my Mum, maybe) makes me laugh as much or as hard as you do. Most of the time it’s at you doing impressions of me, or you taking the hand out of something I said but I still laugh none the less. In fact, being friends with you has taught me to laugh at myself if nothing else!

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though… we’ve seen each other through everything. Even across the ocean that separates your little island from mine. New jobs, new men, old jobs, old men, heartbreaks and 808s, death and depression (well this just took a turn 😂)…

Now you’re a week and a bit away from flying across the world to start a new adventure without me. In case I don’t say it when I see you. I’m so proud of you. I hope that you find everything you want in Canada. You deserve everything good it has to offer. It makes me sad that you’ll be so far away but I’m so excited for this next chapter of yours. Return of Saturn, baby!

I’ve never told you before but growing up I always wished I had a brother; as you know, my brother was stillborn and growing up I always wished it was different and he was here because I always wanted a brother. I always wondered what it would be like. I feel like I wished it into existence because 20 years later the universe gave me you. Now you’re stuck with me for life. SUCKER.

Well this has gone on long enough and if I don’t stop now I think I might have to turn this into a book so I’m going to stop now.

Acquaintance of the year? Nah, man. Acquaintance of my life.

See you in less than 48 hours for the last hurrah (until LA in June, obvs)

your pal

xo

• Diane Alice Lorraine •

Day 3. Letter 3.

Diane Alice (Lorraine) Dalby.

Well, this is an odd one to write because although I know you know how much you mean to me, I don’t think I’ve actually ever told you. What a dick.

If you’d have asked 17 year old me if my first ever manager would become one of the most important people in my life I’d have probably told you to fuck off but somehow it happened.

To think I hated you when we first met properly.

I remember leaving the interview at Mothercare and saying to my mum on the phone “I really hope I get that job” and then you called me 3 days later to offer me the job. Little did I know that I was signing up for 12 years of fun (there was a lot shit too but I choose to only remember the fun).

Then you fucked off to another store for a few months, came back and I hated you.

I remember being sat in the staff room on those god awful brown chairs opposite the white board and you asked me about my shifts… I thought “who’s this? She’s never here and she’s asking ME about MY shifts” Bit big for my boots really. The team always blame you for turning me into a monster but I think it was always there, you just bought it to the surface.

Slowly though, I realised you’re actually alright, a bit mad, but alright. This one’s a keeper. You took a chance on me and gave me my career. One that I actually love (we all know you have to love retail to work in it long term).

I don’t remember when you moved from boss to friend, it just feels like it’s always been that way now. It’s been nearly 13 years. I’m still waiting for my medal for putting up with you, Duncan did promise me one?!

Little known fact about you: you are pretty much the reason I’m alive now. I know that sounds dramatic but you’ve seen me through 3 depressive episodes and, unknown to some, the last one I was suicidal. You talked me down from that train platform, from afar. Without you on the end of the phone when I was stood on that platform I definitely wouldn’t be here. I literally owe you my life. I’m so glad you did that because I actually love my life and I wasn’t ready to die. I was just so ill I couldn’t remember that. You made me remember.

So cheers for that. Nice one.

Life coach. Therapist. Advice giver. Belly laugh inducer. You literally tick all the boxes of what it means to be a bloody brilliant friend. You’ve never tried to change me, ever. You just accepted me for the weirdo I am and honestly you probably know me better than anyone else in my life so that’s saying something.

You have played such an important part in my finding my voice and navigating this weird world and helping me realise that no one ever has it all figured out. I even like that you don’t always agree with me (you always point out when I’m wrong, not that it happens much, obvs 😉)

I don’t think there will ever be enough thank you’s really.

I’m so glad you’re off having your adventures with Dunc now, even if it means I don’t know when I’ll see you next. Though I do know that I can’t wait for the stories because there are bound to be some fucking brilliant ones 😂

I’m not sure anything will ever top the story of Andrea on the roof though!

Adventure is out there.

Love you, Dalby.

Mickey D’s xoxox

shantaram – pt. 1

where i am: montrose, CA

what im listening to: tori kelly- unbreakable smile

can i just say this holiday rocks! i haven’t been this relaxed in so long – i haven’t eaten  this much in forever – i am constantly full up. its got to the point where i may need to book an extra seat on the flight home to accommodate my increasingly large arse. not only that but i am getting the chance to write so much, i haven’t written in my notebook this much since the beginning of the year when i was a bum. the more i write, the clearer my head feels, always.

today’s post is a little different from the norm in that i’m going to be giving you someone else’s words and thoughts and not my own.

i am constantly fascinated with people, their stories, their lessons, their thoughts and views on life and everything that happens to us. 

if you’ve been reading my posts for a while you’ll know i can be quite sensitive (i pretend i am not “i don’t have a heart” is a favourite line of mine) but actually i am really sensitive and i feel everything probably a bit more than i should. i am that girl that can burst into tears over a book, a song or even an advert on the telly (yes, i’m a loser). 

i was recently lent a book by a friend called ‘shantaram’ by gregory david roberts. i am obsessed. there are so many truth bombs in the text, so many statements that make me really think and so many that resonate with me. i’m going to share some of them here. also, i’ve called this part one because i can guarantee i will end up sharing more from this book in the future. you’re welcome. 

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant. The choice you make between hating and forgiving can be come the story of your life”

The best thing in the world is power… love is the opposite of power, that’s why we fear it so much”

“She loved the guy. She did it for him. She would’ve done anything for him. Some women are like that. Some loves are like that, from what I can see. Your love starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your self respect and your independence. After a while you start throwing people out, your friends, people you used to know. And it’s still not enough. The lifeboat is still sinking and you know it’s going to take you down with it. I’ve seen that happen to a lot of girls here. I think that’s why I’m sick of love.”

“There’s a truth that’s deeper than experience. It’s beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It’s an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception. We’re helpless usually in the face of it; and the cost of knowing it, like the cost of knowing love, is sometimes greater than any heart would willingly pay. It doesn’t always help us to love the world but it does prevent us from hating the world. And the only way to know the truth, is to share it, heart to heart…”

“I think that we all, each one of us, we all have to earn our future. I think the future is like anything else that is important. It had to be earned. If we don’t earn it, we don’t have a future at all. And if we don’t earn it, we don’t deserve it. We have to live in the present, more or less forever. Or worse, we have to live in the past. I think that’s probably what love is – a way of earning the future”

“One of the reasons we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying for you”

“Fate has every power over us but two. Fate cannot control our free will, and fate cannot lie. Men lie, to themselves more than to others, and to others more often than they tell the truth. But fate does not lie”

Reality – as you see it, as most people see it – is nothing more than an illusion. There is another reality, beyond what we see with our eyes. You have to feel your way into that reality with your heart. There is no other way”

“Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we save them”

“It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would have anhilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in someway a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive”


i mean…  wow, right? 

some of those i read, and re read, and read again. i copied those down in my journal and annotated them, i added my thoughts (i haven’t done that here because i don’t think it’s necessary and would probably take away from the original message) some of those made me really sit and think. others brought me to tears. does that make me weird? most likely. i’m ok that. 

i’m about halfway through the book and i’m excited to see how it turns out. if you’re looking for a new book to read i can’t recommend it enough. 

xoxo

Micks 

Just like John, I’m so tired. 

where i am: Los Angeles with my American fam.

where my head is at: who bloody knows. when it stops spinning I’ll let you know. 

It’s happening, friends. I’m getting old. I can feel it in myself. I realise 28 isn’t really old in a numbers sense but I’m not talking about numbers and years. I’m talking about in my mindset, in my head. 

I’m feeling old. I’m feeling tired. I’m feeling the need to slow down and take some time for me, myself and I. I’m feeling like I want to start being selfish with my time. Since I was 20 or 21 every single holiday I took from work has been filled with trips here, there and everywhere. One of the first lines people say to me when they see me is ‘Where’s your next trip?’ Or ‘Where are you going to next?’. The self confessed free-spirit of my family, the traveller, the nomad I have always been the adventurer. I have loved it. I do love it, still, but I’m tired.

I have done some of the most incredible things on these holidays – I have had tomatoes thrown at my face during La Tomatina in Spain, seen the sunrise across Bryce Canyon in the US, got lost in the caves in Postonja, Slovenia. I’ve climbed Mount Vesuvius, sang and danced my way down the Champs Elysées, had my heart broken walking around Anne Frank House. I stayed out until the sun came up with friends I just made in NYC, felt the flames of Fallas on my face (not literally) in Valencia, visited Obama at the White House, swooned over the views at Giant’s Causeway… and so much more. 

But I’m tired.

I’m really fucking tired.

I was talking to one of my friends about this recently. I said that after my trip to India I have no trips planned. For the first time in a long time, I’m totally ok with that. It’s a very odd thing for me to say. I’m always looking ahead to the next holiday, the next adventure. Sure there are loose plans, but nothing confirmed.

My friend agreed it was odd and I said how tired I was. I said how I feel like I’m always travelling and that I have minimal time at home, to spend my time just being with the people I have in my life in England. My friend said to me that it’s ok to be selfish with my free time. That sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes, instead of flying off to visit someone when I have rare time off work, it’s ok to be selfish and say either ‘you come here’ or simply, ‘no’. I’m taking this time for me. I’m taking this time to be at home, to sleep in and see the people in this country. 

I realise this may post may rub people the wrong way, it may come across as ungrateful; you may be thinking I’m a brat. I promise you I’m not, that’s not my intention. I am aware how lucky I am to have travelled as I do, as I have. 

I’m also aware that I may change my mind on this (hello the sometimes fickle Gemini mind), perhaps I’m feeling this way as I’ve only had one week off since March. 

I’m just saying that right now, in this moment, I’m tired.

I’m currently visiting friends in the US. I go home, have 5 days at work and then fly to India for 2 weeks. After that, aside from work, my time is my own. 

I can’t fucking wait 

Xoxo Micks