happy birthday, John

it’s 1.35 am. i can’t sleep.

when i have trouble sleeping i always seem to do one of three things; listen to music, watch friends or write. tonight i am combining two of those. music and writing.

i am currently listening to a mix of The Beatles and John Lennon’s solo work – in case you didn’t know today would have been John’s 77th birthday.


for those of you that know me, you’ll know The Beatles are my favourite band, John is was my favourite member. to this day he is my favourite musician/artist/lyricist in the history of the world. to some it is an obvious choice, to others a cliché. to me it is the only choice. laugh if you will. i don’t care.

the best compliment i ever received (or one of them) was from my mum. having read a John biography she concluded that john and i were very similar in personality. she has since repeated that to me, and it still makes me happy to hear.

my love affair with The Beatles began when i was around 10 years old. my mum, a lifelong Beatles fan, insisted on watching a movie called ‘Help’ on the telly one Sunday afternoon. i can’t remember my response to being told this is what we were watching but i remember my reaction when it finished. i was intrigued. this was before the age of smart phones and wi-fi so i couldn’t just hop online and listen to their back catalogue and find out about the band, i remember asking my mum about them, i’d heard their songs my whole life but never really paid that much attention to them, until now. i remember my singing along to their songs in assembly (Nowhere man was a fave of our music teacher, so was Ob-la-di Ob-la-da) with way more enthusiasm.

the older i got the more my taste in music (and men) varied but i always came back to John and The Beatles.

my 21st birthday was not spent in some generic nightclub getting wasted, (not that there is anything wrong with that), it was spent wandering the streets of Liverpool, stomping the same pavements that John once had. we visited the Cavern, we strolled around the Albert Dock, we visited Penny Lane, saw the house George was born in, the registry office that John and Cynthia got married in. i remember being on a tour (so wonderfully titled “magical mystery tour”) and the tour guide/host was firing questions at everyone. who got most of them correct? who was the youngest fan on the bus? me and ME. the tour guide actually turned to  me at one point and said “it should really be you stood here doing this job” day=made.

i couldn’t pin point what it is exactly about John and his music that i love. it’s really a load of little things. there was an honesty to his music that i adore, a vulnerability. he was, in my opinion, very comical but also had a depth to him that was evident in his music and his mind. i admire how he handled his unconventional upbringing, and the tragedy that came to him early in life. he wanted to bring people together. he was wise – i mean, sure, we can’t assume that all these quotes attributed to him are ALL really his, but there’s no smoke without fire, right?

his mind

Some of my favourite John thoughts –

“The basic thing nobody asks is why do people take drugs of any sort? Why do we have these accessories to normal living to live? I mean, is there something wrong with society that’s making us so pressurized, that we cannot live without guarding ourselves against it”
“We all have Hitler in us, but we also have love and peace. So why not give peace a chance for once?”
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant…. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong”
“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people”

i could go on but i won’t. you can read more of his musings on brainy quote or a similar website.

his music

some of my best, and worst, moments are tied to his music. my 25th birthday, driving along the Almalfi Coast in the beautiful Italian sunshine our driver had John’s “(Just like) Starting Over playing. whilst it’s widely accepted that ‘Crippled Inside’ is about everybody’s hypocrisy, for me i use it to laugh at myself when my mental demons are loud and winning, much like they are now; but that’s another post for another day. there are also songs that i hope to attach to memories in the future – one day i hope to have ‘In My Life’ played at my wedding, i hope to sing ‘Beautiful Boy’ to my son.






it is also the birthday of the person John wrote that song about – his son Sean (who is a TREAT for the eyes).

Happy Birthday, Sean.

Happy Birthday, John.

and thank you.



#tb to when I went to NYC with a blanket around my neck and my favourite place in the city was empty except for me, my mum and a busker singing my favourite John songs.

The Story of Rachel and I

The time is 00:31. It is Thursday 29th September. I have been in from work for about an hour, normally I would hit the hay straight away but today, today my blog readers, is a special, special day.




Rach is on the left

There will, of course, be the obligatory picture collage on all social media platforms, the annual Whatsapp of my singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her, not to mention a birthday text (we both dislike phone calls – reason 101 she is my best friend) plus the celebratory dinner tomorrow but, after mentally recalling our story to myself, I decided I wanted to write it down and share it with the world.

So here it is, The Story of Rachel and I….



Picture it, Sicily 1922… oh no, wrong story.

Picture it, a lecture hall at Kingston University, in the autumn of 2009, a small group of students have gathered to talk to a lecturer about partaking in ERASMUS the next year, the room is abuzz with excitement.


“I wonder where we can go”

“Do you think you’ll need to speak the language?”

“I wonder what the universities are like?”

Rachel “ My brother’s girlfriend did ERASMUS, she said they just partied all the time.”

That is my first real memory of ‘ole McCarth. This was a year into the start of our course at KU (class of 2011 say hey!), our course was Primary Education and as there were only around 80 students (a guess) on the course you’d imagine that we’d have crossed paths before this, well, in a word, no. No we hadn’t. I recognised her face from the rare whole cohort lectures we had, and knew her name as one of the girls I hung out with was in the same specialism as her, but I had never actually spoken to her. At that point I didn’t have any idea how important that party animal would become to me.


one of our first nights out in Valencia

Fast forward a month or two and we both found out (along with Jade and Hayley) that we had been accepted on the ERASMUS programme. WAHEY. We were going to being in Valencia, Spain for a term (our course was split into terms like schools, not semesters). We were going to do our teaching placement at an international school, do a week in a local school, have a week off for Fallas and then spend 2 weeks at the university there. I will go on record to say that Hayley was a superstar in those weeks leading up to us leaving. She organised all of us; we had a group meeting with the student that had gone the year before us, she got us the name of a landlord in VLC, she contacted the school, she acted as a go-between for us and the lecturer that was our point of contact in Kingston.


Just up from our apartment in VLC

January 4th 2010. Gatwick Airport. Hayley had gone a day earlier and Jade was due in a couple days later. I remember standing by myself (I didn’t want anyone to come with me, didn’t want the fuss) waiting to drop my suitcase off and hearing someone talking at 100mph about 60 people ish behind me in the queue. It was Rachel. Her friends had dropped her off, they were gabbing away. This was something I learnt very quickly about Rach; she does love to talk.

I was a very different person back then, I remember thinking at the time ‘God, I hope she likes me. I hope we get on ok. What am I going to talk to her about?’ I was very shy and nervous back then and wanted everyone to like me. Now I couldn’t give a shit, but then it really mattered to me. We met up after security and since then we’ve been pretty much inseparable. She was, and is, so easy to talk to. I remember sitting on the plane next to her and being nervous because it was a big deal, going to stay in a country for 4 months with 3 girls I didn’t know that well, a country where I didn’t know the language but somehow she distracted me jabbering away, wondering what it would be like and talking about placement amongst other things. By the time we landed in Valencia I knew she was a good egg.


casual shopping trip

We got off the plane and survived public transport with Hayley’s instructions. We came out of the metro station at Àngel Guimerà, it was the middle of the night and super quiet, as we stood there waiting for Hayley to come and meet us Rach pipes up “Have you seen the movie Taken? ‘Cause this reminds me of that movie when the two girls get kidnapped”. Excellent. Thanks for that pal.


I’m pleased to report we weren’t kidnapped and we met Hayley just fine. Due to an overlap of students leaving and arriving Rach and I ended up sharing a room for a month. That month sealed the friendship deal for the both of us I think. Never have I enjoyed sharing a bedroom with someone so much. We quickly found that we had a shared love of tea, emo music and the same stupid sense of humour. Every night we’d get in to bed, have a chat and end up laughing at something ridiculous – more than once Jade knocked on the wall and asked what we were laughing at and we couldn’t tell her because either a) she wouldn’t find it funny like us or b) we were too busy laughing to explain.


A club somewhere in Kings Cross

I can say for the both of us that those few months abroad were our best time at university. We had the best time. The school we were in was amazing; the teachers made us feel so welcome and even took us for our first night out drinking whilst we were there. The children were little gems and loved having us there – there were a lot of tears on our last days. On the days we weren’t at the school we partied, shopped, went to the beach, drank tea, visited our little man in the fruit and veg shop down the street, went and saw Valencia play at the Mestalla (Thanks for the tickets, Carles), snuck in a trip up to Barcelona… we had a ball.


Rach and I did try and learn the lingo properly whilst we were there but it didn’t really work out. Especially when you look at our learning techniques…


Car is Coche. The best way to remember it is ‘COtCH (e)ing in the car’


Donde means where? WHERE is the DON of the D(e)ay?


Honestly, and we wonder why we quickly unlearnt most of our ‘Spanish’. This kind of thing was one of the many things we bonded over; we thought it was a foolproof way to learn. Apparently not.


We skipped out on the local school placement together once – there was a visit to the local park and after lunch we got bored so we went home and had a nap. Never went back. There was also a lecture at the university where the lecturer was a complete arse, when we had to divide into groups for work again we both went home, had a tea, listened to music and had a nap. Hayley and Jade were both troopers and stuck it out. We just encouraged the naughty in each other I think.


Back home we both struggled to re adjust to being on a course our hearts weren’t in. The travel bug had bitten and we wanted to go out there and see everything and everywhere. If we were both honest there was a very similar reason that we both wanted to jump back on a flight to Valencia. Obviously, we didn’t. We both had different friendships groups and mine were very focused and made sure I completed assignments and went to lectures; living in Kingston made it easier for me. Rach was living at home in South Norwood and found it much easier to be distracted – especially when she got into a new relationship (George, I’m looking at you! Ha-ha) I have to say through this phase I was a big fat nag, this was our final year of uni and I made it my mission to make Rach finish the course. There was no way she was going to drop out after she’d worked so hard.


Around May 2011, I remember walking with Rach to the car park by the business school and her casually dropping in the conversation that she was pregnant. My jaw hit the floor and we had a long old chat about it in her car (miss you, Ruby). Fast forward to November 20th, I’m in Bath visiting another friend and my BB goes off (I kind of miss my Blackberry too, BBM was the nuts!) with a picture of the most precious thing. My Godson, Nephew, Friend, Guy who is super fun and so much cooler than me. Oscar. That boy has filled my life with so much love, light, happiness and playfulness in his (almost) 5 years on the planet. It has been a joy to watch him grow and become who he is. I’m pleased to report that he has the same silly sense of humor that his mum and I have. It’s great!

When Oscar and I met for the first time


We’ve now been best pals for almost 7 years; this post was just the beginning of the story of Rachel and I. There have been so many more moments over the years that have cemented her place in my heart and in my life. She is an absolute gem and anyone that knows her is lucky too. Watching her become a mum and raise Oscar, along with George, has been so special. Rachel took to it so naturally, even though she was always a bit worried about it. If I ever had children I will have her on speed dial.

There is so much more to her than being Oscar’s mum though, she has been there for me and shared some of my best and worst moments. The dose of realness that I often need when I get swept up in my fantasies; she’ll always gently pull me back down to earth. She is funny, loves food as much as me – once I asked her what she wanted to do and she looked at me and said “I think I’d just like to eat some quavers”, appreciates music like I do both the ‘cool’ stuff and the not so cool. She has a sense of adventure that rivals my own, she can talk to anyone, has a heart of gold, is fiercely loyal to me, she always has my back… I don’t actually know what I did to deserve her. She is also, and she’ll hate me for saying this, like, totally gorgeous!!! Sooooo many of my friends see her pic for the first time and go ‘oh she’s so pretty’. Rachel will say something along the lines of ‘oh behave, stop it’ when she reads that but Rach hunny, we say it cause it’s true!!

I’ve rambled on a fair bit now so I will close this by saying Rachel you’re great. Thank you for being my friend. You’re infinitely cooler and prettier than me. I love you. See you tomorrow evening.


Your blister,





26 lessons for 26

Happy Birthday to my blog! It’s officially 2 years old (at least it will be in a couple of weeks) How weird is that? 2 years ago when I was on me holidays in Italy and one of my favourite people in the world convinced to put my musings out in the world and 2 years later here we are. If I am not mistaken I do believe some of you enjoy them too.

Although my blog is still very much in its infancy – the terrible twos start now – I am, shall we say, no longer in my infancy. Be kind of weird if I was, wouldn’t it. A two year old having these kinds of thoughts, tres strange. I am, gulp, now a couple weeks away from being classed as in my late twenties. It’s a long road to acceptance but my therapist assures me that I’ll get there, I just need to stay drunk and I’ll be fine. There is a theme in my writing, very soul search-y (search-y is a real word, promise) because I’m always tryna figure life out, and I like to share my lessons learnt with y’all in the hopes you learn from me and maybe just feel a little bit better about yourselves and any decisions you may have made.

So off the back of that, here are my 26 lessons for 26.

  1. Disney really is the happiest place on earth


No surprises here. I’ve been twice in one year. I’d move in tomorrow if they’d let me. I fell in love with the guy who played Peter Pan on my first trip. If only for the reason that, after asking me about my necklace and me saying I stole it (it was my name necklace, and no I don’t know why I said it and yes my friends still rip me for it now) he didn’t bat an eyelid and asked if I stole from Skull Rock – he encouraged the crazy. What a guy. You cannot go to Disney and not get swept up in the fairytale. Life is rosy for your stay. Even if it’s only one day.




  1. Love is rarely the fairytale you think it will be, it’s time to take off the Disney tinted glasses


This is something someone said to me a couple of months ago and it’s really stuck with me. I think it’s because I’d never imagined that this particular person, who knows me pretty well, would ever get me confused with someone who thinks like this. I know love isn’t perfect; nothing is, but love especially. For as long as I can remember I have never been the type of girl to dream about dressing in white. I admire those that get married and fall in love with no inhibitions – I think they are brave above everything. They are brave enough to take a chance on something that isn’t guaranteed; because we all know that happily ever after isn’t a thing. They are brave enough to leap, and chose someone else above everyone else, knowing how messy it could end up. Despite it being legally binding be it through marriage or living together and buying a property together. There is no get out of jail free card with either of those. I guess they just figure they’d rather argue with their SO than be making love with anyone else. I don’t feel that’s Disney tinted glasses – I feel that’s real life.



  1. The right people will encourage your crazy and not make you feel like you have to hide it


The older I get the more comfortable I get in my own skin. I am told I’m odd at least once a day, if not more. You know what, I’m ok with that. I am a bit odd (aren’t we all?) and I’m learning to surround myself with the people I can be 100% around at all times, rather than being that awkward quiet girl in the corner who doesn’t really speak. The right people, the forever people, will encourage the crazy, not make you feel like you have to hide it. My best friends know that I will randomly burst into song and dance in the middle of the street, they know that I talk to myself more than the average person, they know that I will randomly switch up my accent in the middle of a conversation but rather than pull a face and tell me to stop, they join in.


  1. Trust your gut, it knows more than you think


Let me just put this out there. YOUR GUT INSTINCT IS A REAL THING. Sure, sometimes it’s wrong but 95% of the time my gut instinct has steered me right. On the occasions I haven’t followed my gut and it’s then been right I spend a ridiculous amount of time saying to myself and other people and even random strangers on the train “I knew it, I knew it, why didn’t I listen to myself? WHY GOD, WHY” Follow your gut, it knows more than you think.


  1. Don’t waste people’s times or emotions.


Period. Don’t lead people on. Don’t waste their time. Don’t let them get in so deep that it hurts to say goodbye – that it hurts to pull away. Don’t tell people your thoughts about ‘could be’ unless you are sure, or you’re willing to take a risk and change your life. If you like your life as it is, then just don’t say anything. Keep schtum. It’s kinder to everyone.



  1. I can be a bit of an askhole.


Hands up if you’re an askhole… don’t lie there are more than that. An askhole is someone who asks for your advice and then does the opposite anyway. I can be that person. For that I am sorry. I’ll try harder.


  1. You can’t plan everything – life will throw forks in your road. It’s up to you which road you take


The best-laid plans rarely go without bumps and forks in the road. Life changes too quickly for you to be able to plan every small detail (no matter how much we’d like to). Life can flip 180 in a matter of hours, let alone days. All you can do is have an end game and try and be flexible in how you achieve it. If you really want it, you’ll get there. It just might not be in the way you’d originally thought you’d get there.



  1. It’s ok to postpone plans for yourself. It’s not ok to postpone plans for other people, especially boys.


Something my life coach said to me this year. Just thought I’d share because I think it’s great advice. You can’t wait around for people to get their shit together.

Do you.


  1. Sometimes you have to take life by the horns, stand up and say ‘this is what I want’


No one got what he or she wanted by sitting there quietly and praying for it. You gotta stand up and be counted. You need to put the work in; you need to put yourself out there. Of course there is every chance you might not get what you want, but at least you tried. There’ll be no regret and no what if’s. Just an ‘I was bold and honest and did what I could to make it happen’. Definitely better than a ‘what if’


  1. If someone wants to be with you, they will. End of story.


At this point half my friends are happily in relationships, they other half are single. The one thing the partnered up people always say to us singletons – if someone wants to be with you, they will be. It’s really that simple. Don’t read into the messages, don’t ask how high when he says jump – it’s a two-way street. The effort can’t be one sided, it can’t be one person calling and texting all the time; it can’t be one person always going to see the other. It needs to be a balance. If it’s not, they just aren’t interested. Simples.




  1. How people treat you says more about them than it does you


If someone treats you like shit and you feel you’ve done nothing to deserve it (most of us have been there) please believe me when I say it has more to do with them than you. It’s not a hidden fact that people tread on those that they are jealous of or feel threatened by. Try not to let their insecurity in themself get to you. Just smile and walk away. Then call them a twat under your breath because, hey, we’re not perfect and sometimes it just pisses you off.



  1. People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.


Once you’ve figured out which they are, you’ll know what to do.



“When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life”


They worded it better than I ever could.


  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself – everyone else is winging it too


Big ting for me, I judge myself very harshly. Social media makes it so easy to be hard on yourself but don’t judge your hustle against someone else’s highlight reel. Everyone else is making it up too. No one is perfect, we all fuck up from time to time, and we all get things wrong. We are all human. Just because they look like they got their shit together, doesn’t mean they do. We all edit our lives and ourselves. Remember that.


  1. Honesty isn’t always the best policy


Sometimes a little white lie to protect feelings is a good thing. Trust me.



  1. Going out on a Saturday night is rarely as fun as it seems.


I enjoy a good night out as much as the next person but being honest, most nights I’d rather go for dinner and drinks and then go home. There is no shame in being in bed by midnight on a Saturday. My bed is one of my favourite places to be.


  1. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.


Just because your life expectancy should be 85 doesn’t mean it will be. It’s the average for a reason. I recently lost someone who I thought of as family and when I got that phone call to tell me he had died, the thing that kept running through my head was “he had so much life left to live, how is this possible. He was only 28”. I know it’s easy to say but don’t take your life for granted, don’t just exist. Live.


  1. The outdoors is a great place to be.


I’ve been told that I live in the country – now I don’t believe I do (there are no tractors for a start) but I do know there are some banging parks and gardens to visit in close proximity to where I live. Being outdoors is one of my simplest pleasures. I enjoy a good walk around the park, or the fields at the back of my house. By myself or with others. I’m not fussy. Earth is pretty stunning when you actually take time to look at it and appreciate it.



  1. Becoming friends with my parents and sisters is one of the best things I have ever done.



Hand on heart this is the truth. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones who actually enjoy spending time with their immediate family? All I know is that when I was younger it could sometimes be a bit of a chore spending time with them, it was a case of having to spend time with them, not wanting to. Now, I will happily choose to spend the day with them because I actually like them for the people they are. Some people that I speak to seem to view their families in a different way to their friends – they almost expect their mums, dads and siblings to never make mistakes and think the same way they do and never challenge them and then when they fall short of their high expectations they seem surprised. My parents and siblings are only human and sure they still do me crust in from time to time but I know that, even if they weren’t family, I’d still choose them. Aren’t they lucky?


  1. Just because I’m not considered a girly-girl or particularly feminine doesn’t make me any less of a lady.


Beauty standards are bullshit. You don’t need to conform to the stereotype that all women have to wear dresses and high heels 24-7, you don’t have to have perfect make up. I am more of a jean and t-shirt kinda girl and it’s a miracle if I manage to leave the house having brushed my hair most days. If you’re into the highly made up look, go for it. If you’d rather sleep an extra 20 minutes and go out the house bare faced, rock it. The only beauty standards we conform to are the ones we put on ourselves. I have a vagina and that is enough to make me a lady.


  1. I’m too lazy to be crazy



Just what it says. I’m too lazy to be crazy. I don’t have time for the bullshit drama that so many people get caught up in. Thanks to the LadyGang for bringing this phrase into my life.



  1. The world doesn’t owe you a thing

I’m sure I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. The world owes you nada. It was here first. If you want something, if you want a change only you can make it happen. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


  1. It’s ok to spoil yourself.


Sometimes the world is shit and you just need an extra glass of vino at dinner. Some days are draining and you need to eat the chocolate bar. Sometimes you get your heart broken and need to splash out on that girls holiday or that stupidly expensive pair of shoes. It’s ok to spoil yourself once in a while, you work hard for it and sometimes we all need that instant gratification to turn a crappy day into a not so crappy one.


  1. Take a lot of pictures.


One day you’ll be glad you did.



  1. First impressions are not always right

I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have met someone and not been sure on them or not been fussed by them. Second impressions are a much better I think. A lot of people are shy or awkward the first time they meet people – the second everything is a bit more comfortable.

The best example I have of this is when I first met one of my best friends. I was actually interviewing her for a job and my first impression was too shy, too quiet to work where we are. My boss at the time told me to give her a chance, which I did, and she turned out to be one of the best workers I ever hired. We have both since moved on from the place we worked together but have become best pals. She’s a genuine little flower and I love her. Also, she’s definitely not quiet or shy. In fact most days I can’t get her to shut up!



  1. Don’t wash your hair everyday.

It’s not good for your hair. Your hair will look and feel better if you leave it a little longer. It’s also easier to style when it’s not so clean.

  1. Do nice things for strangers

The last one on the list but possibly the most important; it costs nothing to be nice. Give that pregnant lady your seat on the train, help that old dude cross the street, ask that person in the coffee shop that is crying if they are ok. Talk someone through his or her panic attack; distract someone who hates flying on your flight. What do you have to lose? Nothing. The person on the receiving end leaves with a smile and their faith in humanity restored and you feel all the tingles from bringing someone a small drop of happiness. Win-win, bro. Win – win.

So there we have it.

26 lessons for 26.

I’m out.