• 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

march, 2018

march 2018

happy easter, chums! how are you all? i hope march has treated you well. i hope you are all celebrating today with lots of chocolate. i am taking this rare day off with no plans to catch up on personal admin (such fun) and write. it will be dotted with drinking lots of caffeinated tea (i gave up caffeinated tea/coffee for lent, pure torture) and trying to not induce type 2 diabetes with all the chocolate that has made its way into my house.

so… march

hero of the month

celebrity

well, they aren’t really celebrities but their post certainly went viral – quite possibly the cutest video on the internet. of course i am talking about 50 mums | 50 kids | 1 extra chromosome. what a beautiful way to celebrate World Down Syndrome day.

personal

there is a group of them this month. the teddys tribe marathon runners.

in June last year my cousins went through the worst situation anyone can imagine – their little boy, Teddy-Blu passed away at just 9 hours old. i can, hand on heart, say that the day of Teddy’s funeral was one of the worst of my life, so i can only imagine what Katie and Adam went through and are still going through now.

in the midst of their grief, they set up Teddy’s Tribe Foundation – to raise awareness of the complications that the parvovirus b19 (better known as slap cheek) can cause during pregnancy, fundraise for those charities and the hospital ward that supported them throughout their pregnancy and in the time following Teddy’s passing and to ensure that the world does not forget their beautiful little babe.

whilst we may not see Teddy grow up to be the beautiful soul he was always destined to be (you only need to look to Katie and Adam’s two gorgeous girls, Izzy and Betsy, to know that Teddy too would have been a beautiful soul – it runs in the family) we can continue his legacy and use his life to ensure that what happened to him wasn’t in vain – the money we are all trying to raise is going to two charities that need this money for one of the most worthy causes in the world.

on April 15th (two weeks today) there will be a group of 6 runners taking part in the Brighton marathon, to raise funds for Teddy’s Tribe.

they have a way to go until they reach their target of £5000, so please, use the link here to donate anything you can.

you can also read more about Katie, Adam and Teddy on their site HERE.

you can also search for Teddy’s Tribe on facebook to stay up to date with their fundraising and to see the runners.

book of the month

A HISTORY OF BRITAIN IN 21 WOMEN – JENNI MURRAY

in the month we celebrated international women’s day this felt very apt.

i loved reading this. it starts off with Boadicea ending with Nicola Sturgeon. whether you like the ladies in this book, or agree with who the author has chosen to write about, you cannot deny the influence these ladies made on shaping our nation, on changing the opinions, the rights and lives of us today.

the blurb reads

“they were famous queens, unrecognised visionaries, great artists and trailblazing politicians. they all pushed back boundaries and revolutionized our world. Jenni Murray presents the history of Britain as you’ve never seen it before, through the lives of twenty-one women who refused to succumb to the established laws of society, whose lives embodied hope and change, and who still have the power to inspire us today”

bloody brilliant stuff. i cannot recommend it highly enough. an essential read for all women i’d say.

soundtrack to the month

this was provided by my favourite emo/skater/punk pop –whatever genre you put them in – band –Simple Plan.

i have adored them since, in my emo teenage phase, i heard ‘welcome to my life’ and felt it in my soul.

this month i re-discovered their album, ‘taking one for the team’. it’s still as good as the first time i heard it.

i have also been overplaying Daddy Yankee’s ‘Dura’ because i want it to be summer already.

bad joke of the month

how do you make an octopus laugh?

with ten-tickles

food of the month

i have been craving peanut butter ice cream so much this month you could think i was pregnant. also, petit filous and granny smiths.

realization of the month

the movies were right – good guys don’t run away.

march 2018.

for me, march was a lot of work and little play – although the playing i did do was a treat.

a glorious afternoon with my nephew, days in our spectacular capital being tourists with two of my very best friends – no one gives me the ability to laugh at myself like amy and byng. we celebrated all the kick ass women around the world on international women’s day. i felt spoilt by my team with random presents – everything from chocolate to jewellery from india to new pens; although im certain the pens are just to stop me sealing their ones and not bringing them back! i had the best evening with two like-minded friends and bonded over tapas and sangria. i celebrated what would have been Nick Lashaway’s 30th birthday with random acts of kindness in him memory – the outpouring of love all over social media for him was amazing to see. as i said to his amazing mama – she did the universe proud with him. i got to go back to one of my favourite places in the world – Derry – to see two of my favourite humans (and one of my favourite canines).

and yes, i did work a lot BUT it has all felt worth it – the changes, what is coming, the things we’ve achieved.

march, you were alright.

hello, april. be nice to me.

until next month,

xoxo M

here’s a second a day

january ‘18

it’s finally here! the end of the longest month the world has ever known… seriously, is it just me or has this month dragged out? ordinarily you blink and it’s half way through the month, this month you blinked and you’d gone back in time. sweet baby yoda.

anywhooo, how are we all? surviving? i’m plodding along as per.

i’ve been trying to decide whether to carry on sharing my random thoughts on this site, primarily because i generally feel like i’m talking to myself most of the time and whilst that is fine, i can just talk to myself out loud rather than writing it down – i do this frequently anyway so i would just be saving myself some time. as some of you know, last year i gave myself a goal to post once a week, which i did (go me), but writing wasn’t so much fun when i knew i had to publish it – i write mainly for myself, and most of my writing is for no ones eyes but my own. and to be fair, it probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone else – it barely makes sense to me. it has been really nice this month just writing for me again.

the conclusion to my uncertainty was this – yes, i do still want to write about my crap on here but not so frequently, i think once a month will suffice. in all honesty i don’t really have time to post more – my friend amy said to me this weekend “you are literally the hardest person in the world to pin down to see. you have to book in with you 6 months in advance, you tell us you have a day free, then we go away to see if we’re free and come back to you for you to say, sorry! made plans now with xyz person” – i didn’t actually realise this but its pretty accurate. soz mate. i’m actually thinking about starting a deposit scheme – pay me £50 to secure your requested date and you’ll get it back when i see you.

and then i got to thinking how my posts might look, so rather than me rambling on (like i have done thus far in this post) i’m just gonna give my month recap for those that care in a ‘…of the month’ format. i don’t know if any of that explanation really made sense but continue reading and hopefully it will…

hero of the month

celebrity: halsey

did you see her speech at the women’s march? i cannot tell you how many times i have watched it but i can tell you that every time i do watch it, i cry. it is so, so powerful.

i cannot tell you how many debates i have gotten into with people over the ‘times up’ / #metoo movement and the fact that only now a lot of women are coming forward “why has it taken them so long?” “they’re being too sensitive” “it was all just a joke back in my day”. in my view, people who say things like this are part of the problem. and in response i say because it’s scary to come forward when the men that are doing it hold power over you, physically and otherwise. these women are really brave for coming forward and publicly about something this sensitive. i say, it is not your place to tell them they are being too sensitive – we all have personal boundaries and we don’t like them being abused. i say, well if you were happy with bob from accounts slapping your ass, or grabbing you by the pussy at work and found it funny, great for you. i say, that yes, we need to teach girls to protect themselves because unfortunately that is the world we live in but what do we need to teach more than that? well, we need to teach people not to fucking rape – and i say people because i am well aware that females can be rapists too. this is not just a one-sided issue (although stats of reported rapes suggest that women are 7x more likely to be raped than a man is).

personal: my sister, melissa

she’ll probably roll her eyes at this but she definitely needs a shout out. after the longest time she has finally stood the fuck up for herself and is making some changes that are long overdue. she is a worrier and so i can only imagine her anxiety at these changes that are coming up for her BUT i think she is a fuckin superstar for putting herself first and for knowing that she deserves so much more than she’s currently getting. you go, sister!

book of the month

leah remini: troublemaker

i am obsessed with her and scientology. i find it so fascinating. she’s got gumption! i read her book super quickly, maybe it took me a week max. one of my goals this year is to learn about other people – i am aiming to read a new biography/autobiography each month and leah’s started me off. i’m now reading hillary clinton’s ‘what happened’.

soundtrack to the month

‘now that’s what i call country’

i am completely unashamed about my love for all things ‘country’. this month i have mainly been listening to this album.

the greatest showman: soundtrack

this one has slipped in at the last-minute because i refused to listen to the soundtrack until i saw the movie. i imagine this will be featured on all my posts until the end of the year.

bad joke of the month

(bad jokes are like crack to me, send me all of yours)

why did the banana go out with the prune? because he couldn’t find a date!

also, one i heard today,

“what’s the most common owl in britain?”

“the teat owl… as in the teatowel”

i laughed for a good 5 minutes.

food of the month

well, it’s not really ‘food’ but its a condiment. french mustard. it’s just the frickin best. its taken ketchup’s place at the top of my list and i am enjoying grossing everyone out by putting it nearly everything.

realisation of the month

this is where i try to sound all deep and intelligent.

this month i have really realised that people are bloody shit, but that they are also bloody brilliant. you can’t make people understand you because not everyone wants to or can be bothered to. and that’s ok. the ones that are worth it will stick around and try to understand, the ones that are worth it will make the effort. the rest of them can go fuck ’emselves.

my other realisation of the month is that i swear too much. starting tomorrow i’m going to try to change that. maybe.

january.

i spent a lot of my time at work, i worried about what my new boss thought of me and tried to build a good relationship with him. i let go a bit at work, i tried to remember that i can only do so much, that my team can only do so much. i tried to remember to say ‘thank you’ more. i tried to remember that you only get back as much as you put in. i gave my time and energy (and days off) to people and colleagues that i know appreciate it and deserve my time. i stayed away from those that do not. i said no more. that word is revolutionary, i tell ya! i smiled. i cried. i laid foundations for moments to come. i sung. i danced. i had busy but good month. i tried.

AND i even managed to record a second a day.

january, the longest month ever on record, you were alright.