• 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

• Amy Jayne TayTay •

TayTay, you big slut.

Letter number 2.

Remember you told me last weekend I’m never nice to you unless I’m drunk? Well buckle up, sista. Here comes a whole lot of nice. And I’m sober. And publishing it. On a public platform. For the whole world to see. wait, maybe I am drunk?! (I’m definitely not)

First of all, let’s clear something up.

I think you are bloody fantastic. Ok, there, I said it. To be fair, I wouldn’t have kept you around this long if I didn’t think you were. I know I seem to pick up a whole manner of people (seriously, what is with that?) but only the best ones are allowed to stay. It’s been 10 years, you’re a lifer now.

You know I am completely backwards in that if you’re worth a dime to me I’ll call you all the names to your face and cut a bitch that talks down on you behind your back. I’m just backwards, ok?

I don’t even really know what else to say to be fair.

Like, I just think you’re great.

One of the most genuine and supportive people in my life. You always have a kind word to say about me (even if it’s followed by calling me a wench) and have been one of my biggest cheerleaders for about as long as I’ve known you. I really miss those car journeys to school placement – tell me you don’t miss my CD mixes! I’ve such great taste in music. Eclectic, but great (a couple of people from my past may disagree but whatayagonnadoaboutit?)

I feel very lucky (no I’m not lucky, I’m blessed YES – Nicki Minaj) to count you as one of my best pals – I think it was the wise Ellen Degenres that once said “it’s wonderful to be loved but it’s profound to be understood” and you understand me and all my weird ways. You just ‘get’ me.

One of the things I love most about you (other than your dog, God bless Fudge!), is that you are so unashamedly you. You don’t ask anyone to like you, you just are you and that’s something I have long admired and a trait I so wish I possessed!

You are loyal, you are so kind, compassionate and empathetic, passionate, protective… when you become a Mama they will be one lucky chicken – just remember James promised to name it after me if it’s a girl. 💃🏼

Speaking of James… what a guy. My favourite farmer who’s not really a farmer, ever! I love how happy he makes you. To be asked to write something to be read at your wedding was a privilege in itself but then when you asked me to read it… brave move – after all you did warn your friends about me before I met them 😂🙈. Not sure where I got this reputation from to be fair, I’m a proper treat!

Seriously though, I was completely honoured and I’m so pleased you trusted me enough to do it. I’m also so pleased to have been able to choose 2 of your wedding songs. I might not believe in love but I know a good love song when I hear it.

I’m going to wrap this up now because I think I’m just rambling a bit but yea, you’re pretty great. Don’t goooo changing.

See ya in Croatia.

Love you for life.

xoxo M

P.S my favourite, favourite thing is that you get jealous when you’re friends talk to me / ask me to hang out and you’re not involved

“but Kala is MY friend” 😂😂

• Lisa •

Dear Liseeeee,

Linda Lash, Lisa, Liza… I never know which name to call you because normally I just call you rude names 😉

I don’t even really know where to begin. I guess, Happy Birthday to your boy?!

Nicholas Brian Lashaway! 31 years ago you birthed that force of nature. What a treat. I hope today isn’t too hard for you, I hope that you are able to laugh at what a tit he could be amongst the sadness. Also, remember I’m forever judging you for never having made him sit down and watch ‘Mary Poppins’ 😂

I guess I should move on to saying the nice things now, ay? You know me, I’m a bit awkward and so very British about this kind of stuff. Show emotion, me? Say what!

I’m only good at being nice when I’m drunk normally… however I will do my best now.

Lisa,

Lisa,

Lisa.

What a woman.

Someone who I admire for being a hippy at heart (like me) but also for not taking any shit from anyone (a skill I’m still learning)

Maker of one of the best margaritas ever – at this point I’m convinced your mama (Queen) taught you all how to do this because your sisters make killer ones too.

An essential skill if you ask me.

My very first memory of you is our holiday in one of my favourite places in the world – Valencia. When I left there in 2010 I left a peice of my heart there so it was so special that I got to go back there with you, Soph and Jade in 2012. It was like going home for me and I was so proud to show off my city (yes, it’s my city in my head).

I remember being sat on the couch in the apartment the morning after we got there and you walked in the room and farted and then said good morning everyone. Sophie assured me that meant you liked me because you wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to do that if you didn’t!

Add that to me realising we both loved peanut m&ms and men with good arms on that trip – I knew you were a good egg.

Over the years we’ve had sooooo many amazing trips/ visits together – let us never forget the delicious man candy in Naples, singing ‘Don’t stop believing’ on the drive from Boston to the Cape, introducing you to Honest Burger in London, crying with laughter at the Book of Mormon (we definitely should have bought a fuck frog).

I also have to mention that amazing family of yours… I know I tell you all the time how much I love them! All 750 of them, who are also now my family regardless of whether they want to be or not 😂 Surely its time for another reunion? It’s been 6 years since the last one! I’m definitely overdue for a dance party with my best friend Ben, gal pal Rachel and Princess Charlotte!

My favourite times though are us sitting in the man cave swiping left and right on Tinder, eating donuts Mark made me drive to Hollywood to get, watching Catfish (Nev has great teeth) and drinking whilst fighting over the pups.

You are hilarious (another trait we share – obvs). You make me laugh so much and are so supportive of everything I do even when it makes no sense. You’re great at reminding me that whatever happens is all part of the journey. We all need a friend that does that.

When Nick passed… I can’t even begin to fathom what you went through, and continue to go through daily. The way that you carry yourself through your grief and continue to live life is truly inspiring. I know there are days when the grief feels too much to bear but you do it because you are you. The Lisa we all know and love doesn’t let it beat her… hero.

Amongst your own grief you’ve managed to provide comfort to someone else in my life who has experienced this type of loss… having never met them and you did it without being asked to. It means so much to ME that you did that, let alone them.

I’m so blessed to know you (I really hate when people say ‘blessed’ but I feel like it’s the only appropriate word).

I’m so proud to have you in my corner. I’m so grateful that Jade chose me to be her friend because without that little cherry blossom I’d not have met you, nor Nick.

You are so fetch.

You big shitbag.

Love you! See you in May

xoxo Michaeleee

april, 2018

bonjour and hello to you, the reader of this post.

how are you? well i hope. is it just me or has april been another january? as in, it’s felt like it has lasted about 700 weeks. it is finally the end of the month which means i can use my favourite meme in this post because…

how am i? well, this month i’ve mainly spent it feeling like i’m in the way and a bit forgotten if i’m honest. which, i know sounds to most either

  1.  bratty
  2.  utterly ridiculous
  3.  a bit pathetic

the thing is, i know it is probably all of the above but it’s how i have been feeling. so shoot me, why don’t ya. it’s a feeling i’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to shake off. i know people are just very busy and that i am not the centre of their world. i know that cancelled plans and minimal communication is just a result of people being busy and having more important things taking up their time but it’s still how i’ve been feeling and i wont lie to you. and i wont apologise for it either because, as i’ve told many a person, you should never apologise for how you feel.

in a complete 180 i have also been feeling very inspired by all the marathon runners, both Brighton and London. how fantastic are they all? (answer: very)

our very own Teddy’s Tribe did it, raising a phenomenal amount of money in the process. the cheerleaders spent their time wandering around Brighton seafront (one of my favourite places in England, just FYI) sporting their Teddy’s Tribe Foundation T Shirts, and myself the chipped tooth and fat lip i gained courtesy of my nephew on the train down there.

hero of the month

celebrity

Jameela Jamil

i have followed Jameela for what feels like years now. i remember her presenting on T4 back in the day but i really started to love her when i started reading her columns in Glamour magazine. at least i think it was Glamour, it might have been Cosmo, it was one of them. i loved how ballsy she was, i loved that she didn’t hold any prisoners, i loved that she had fucking opinions like a real person and not some puppet created by a PR company to give the generally acceptable answers that didn’t differ from the status quo.

in more recent times people will know her as Tahani in NBC’s ‘The Good Place’. holy forking shirtballs it’s good. it’s one of those shows that are very easy to watch.

she also runs two Instagram accounts, one of which is the reason she is my celebrity hero this month.

‘I Weigh’ is a movement. a movement that encourages people to see themselves as more than the number on the scale because that is only part, a small part, of what we are. it’s bloody fantastic.

personal

there isn’t one this month. sorry, i just generally hate everyone this month sooooo

book of the month

giving myself a pat on the back because i read not one, not two but THREE books this month.

learning more about people April edition was : Patti Smith – Just Kids

what a story. a story of friendship, love and survival. a story based in one of the best cities in the world – NYC. a story that shows that success is not an overnight job for anyone. hard work is rewarded. a beautiful read that i would highly recommend.

Joanna Nadin – The Queen of Bloody Everything

a novel. this was sent to me for freee (i love it when that happens). i had to read it and then give my feedback on it. what i loved about this is that, whilst it was a love story, the main love story wasn’t based on romantic love but rather parental. the main relationship was between a mother and daughter – and we all know how complicated they can be.

Dolly Alderton – Everything I Know about Love

now this was supposed to be my ‘learn more about other people: May edition’ book but i read it in one day. so i need a new book for may, if you have any suggestions then send them to me.

my friend Amy, upon seeing i was reading this, said to me she wants to start a cult of dolly. well, Amy, sign me up. i devoured this book. every 20 something woman needs it.

i also realised after i finished that i always seem drawn to people and the stories of people that aren’t necessarily traditional. a lot of the biographies i read the people have made royal cock ups, or have had their hearts shattered, or have some form of mental illness. they’ve experienced the very worst of what life can give you, felt terribly alone, or like a failure, like they’ve been left behind but have lived to tell the tale. their stories fill me with hope and a sense of calm. they make me feel less alone, i guess.

soundtrack to the month.

there have been three songs on repeat for me across this month.

patti smith – because the night

anne-marie – 2002

chris lane – take back home girl.

bad joke of the month

this got me giggling this month

food of the month

i’ve been enjoying yoghurt pouches like the 5 year old i am and also, lots of tea and biscuits. as lent finished i’ve been making up for lost time. oh and MARMITE CHEESE. my mouth is watering just writing that. motherforking shirt balls, it’s delicious.

realisation of the month

i will always have a love-hate relationship with people. they fascinate me, but they also piss me right off.

april 2018

i’ve been thinking a lot about stories this month. everyone’s life is a story and we try to write it simply as beginning – middle – end but perhaps we have it wrong. perhaps our stories aren’t as simple as that. perhaps they are lots of little stories that each has their own beginning –middle – end. maybe the people we meet are who make up the chapters. maybe we need to let go of the role we think people play in our stories to see the role they really play. i’m sure i’ve played the heroine in some, the villain in others. i’m sure i have hurt people in ways i can never make up for even though it hurts to admit that. perhaps my ability to face the things i don’t want to, the things i convinced myself i wasn’t strong enough to make me the hero of some stories, perhaps it makes me the hero of my own story. the character i play in other people’s lives, the role i’m cast in is not mine to decide, really. some chapters, no matter how much time passes, will still be painful to revisit, as painful as they were when they came to an end. these chapters will mean we actively avoid things; places, foods, movies and music because they remind us of that pain and reliving some stories are too painful. at least for now. one day we’ll gain those things back – sure, deep down we’ll hear that song and remember that person that broke our heart, or that friend that let us down, but one day, we’ll be able to claim back those things and rewrite their meaning in our chapters, in our stories. at least that’s what i’m hoping.

happy may, friends.

be good. to yourselves and others.

xoxo micks

28 things you might not know about me. 

Where I am: sitting in Starbucks, Pumpkin Spice latte in a mug next to me (I’m so basic sometimes, it hurts)

Listening to: Mariah Carey (it’s really hard to not start singing at the top of my voice)

so, update time – after my post about World Mental Health Day i received a lot of messages of support from friends both near and far and so i’d just like to say thank you for that, i really appreciate that you all took the time out of your lives to reach out. thank you to those of you that shared your stories with me, it really is overwhelming just how many of us are touched by mental illness.

i have started therapy now – it’s weird but i’m hopeful it will be have a positive impact on me. i try really hard to not let it dictate my life.

i had a number of people message me to say that they would never had imagined i suffered, that had i not posted about it then and previously, i would be the last person they would have thought had depression and anxiety.

 

off the back of that, because we all know how egocentric i am, here are 28 other things you may not know about me…

  1. i will always be jealous of everyone that can play (competently play) the piano and violin. growing up my parents couldn’t afford for me to have lessons so it is something that i never learnt but always wanted to.

 

  1. my favourite seasons are spring and autumn. they are both transitional seasons and they feel just like starting over to me. spring is full of hope – everything is new. autumn clears my mind, when the leaves fall and so do the cobwebs in my head.

 

  1. i’m much more a ‘bunch of wildflowers’ girl than a ‘bunch of roses’ girl

 

  1. the best sounds in the world are my nephews laughs (all three of them) the sound of the waves crashing is a close second though.

 

  1. i am a bit of a tea snob – i take mine milk, no sugar. Preferably it will be a Barry’s tea bag or a Yorkshire. To end the debate once and for all – THE MILK GOES IN LAST.

 

  1. i do not like wine. Or champagne. i really wish i did. It looks so sophisticated, but it all tastes like vinegar to me. i do however enjoy a nice glass of Bucks Fizz and can stomach a glass of Prosecco but that’s as sophisticated as i get.

 

  1. if i were to ever design my own home and you told me i could have either a really big closet or a really big library i would choose a library every time.

  1. i really do want world peace

 

  1. the most perfect place i have ever been is the Island of Capri at sunset

 

  1. i really want to live by the seaside

 

  1. my friend Steph once bought me a notebook with a map of the world as a cover – she brought it for me to document my travels in. now, whenever i visit somewhere that requires me to board an aeroplane i always pick up a postcard from the destination and stick it in that book.

 ​

  1. most girls i know have thought in great detail about their wedding and what they want it to be like. i have not. i have, however, thought a lot about what i’d like my funeral to be like (morbid, i know)

 

  1. although i was christened COE when i was a bubba and i’m not overly religious now, i do still believe in God. i’m not sure in which sense – i don’t believe it’s a big dude sitting on a cloud, but i do believe in some kind of higher being. i also believe that Karma is a very real force in this world.

 

  1. If i could have anyone narrate my life i think i would choose either David Attenborough or the guy that narrates Come Dine with Me because he is a sarcastic ray of sunshine.

 

  1. i am obsessed with Crime documentaries and stories (i’m not sure what that says about me,really)

 

  1. yes it’s true, i was on the telly not once, but twice. autographs are 50p. per letter.

 

  1. i am a musical freak. my favourite is West Side Story.

 

  1. if i watch friends with you i will most likely quote at least 50% of the dialogue at you. if you’re really lucky it may be more.

 

  1. unless it is work, a medical appointment or something like a wedding or funeral I will be at least 10 minutes late. at this point i’ve realised it’s just who i am as a person.

my friends know.

  1. i love Cliff Richard!! – i grew up watching Summer Holiday and The Young Ones (see no.17 musical freak) and i think this is why i love him.

 

  1. most people are scared of clowns, rodents, snakes, spiders… not me. i’m scared of Octopus and Squid. i’m shivering just thinking about them now. Eurgh.

 

  1. i will put ketchup with pretty much anything. there isn’t many dishes that a squirt of Heinz can’t make better.

 

  1. want to know if you matter to me? find out if i have a song/songs attached to you. music is in my heart and if you are too, there will be a song for you.

 

  1. my favourite handbag designer is Kate Spade. And, unpopular opinion time, i do not like Michael Kors. at all.

 

  1. i really love Caroline Flack. i want her to be my friend. the same goes for Dawn O’Porter

 

  1. i have a bit of a crush on Gary Oldman. especially as Sirius Black

 

  1. my favourite accent in the world is the Irish (Northern > Southern, soz guys)

 

  1. one of my earliest memories from when i was very young is someone walked past me in the town, burning my left hand with their cigarette. that’s how i learnt my left and right.