Dear Mothercare

Dear Mothercare,

 

 

Well, this is certainly a letter that I never expected to write.

 

As the doors of the final stores close this weekend I felt compelled to write a letter to thank a business, a family; that gave me so much. I’m heartbroken that this is how it ended for the best business I have ever worked for.

 

It is the most bizarre thing in the world to me that that big ‘m’ will no longer be on our high street; to some it is just another casualty of retail but to me, and anyone who ever worked there, it is so much more. It is the loss of a place that we all called home. Even after you left, it never left you. The skills and knowledge that you gained whilst working there is something that could not be gained anywhere else.

 

My journey with Mothercare started when I was just turned 17. My interview was on a Wednesday. Wednesday 30th August 2006. Don’t ask me why I remember that date so well – maybe deep down I just always knew it was going to be a big part of my life, who knows. I was just looking for a part time job for a year or two to see me through until I went and got ‘a proper job’. I remember it was a group interview, couldn’t tell you how many other people were there, I remember the people assessing the group (Diane, Nicola, Cassie, Emily and Denise) and that there was definitely almost too many assessors for the amount of people being interviewed. One of the tasks we had to do was make new uniform out of carriers and other random shit in a group. Who knows what the f they were assessing through that but apparently I passed it and got the phone call on Friday 1st September to say I had the job and could I start on Sunday 3rd. (I said yes in case you didn’t get where this was going).

 

Over the years I worked in a lot of stores, some just for the day or week, some for longer. Some as a Customer Service Advisor, some as a VM, some as a Customer Service Supervisor, Assistant Manager, Deputy Store Manager, Store Manager, Dual site Store Manager. This business shaped me into the manager I am today.

 

I worked for some amazing managers (and some not so good) over my years there. I learnt a lot from them all. Some good things and some not so good; in a way I almost feel like the lessons from the bad managers were more important than the lessons from the good ones.

 

I have to shout out the best ones.

 

Diane Dalby and Paula Trevaskis; one that got me in to the business and the other gave the CSA a shot at something bigger and didn’t let me leave even when I moved away to university.

 

My fave, Mr. Colin Keefe – the first RM to make me believe I could run bigger stores, with bigger teams and turnovers. You never doubted me, even when I was ill. Or if you did you didn’t tell me. King of the one-word text messages. Thank you for taking me back without question after I thought I was going to run away to Australia because the world had kicked my ass that year. I could write you your own letter with all the thanks I owe you.

 

And then there is Mr. Shutlar. Tom. I still miss working for you and it’s been about 18 months since I called you boss. The team in Brixton used to call you my work husband. Another one that trusted me with more. Thank you for always having my back. It was probably a good thing we left when we did because if one more person told me you’d said something nice about me I’d not have been able to get out the door. Your support through everything was always appreciated in case I never told you.

 

I covered some miles at Mothercare. I worked all over the South of England. All the stores I remember working in are

Crawley, Horsham (ELC and MC), Redhill, Brighton, Worthing, Canterbury, Watford, Guildford, Aldershot, Camberley, Canterbury, Bracknell, Brixton, Croydon (in town), Croydon (Out of town), Tunbridge Wells, Bluewater (ELC and MC), Chichester (ELC and MC), Eastbourne (MC and ELC, in town and OOT), Sutton, Maidstone, Peterborough, Hounslow, Basingstoke ELC, Poole, Southampton… there are probably more but man, you get the idea of the distance covered.

 

I worked store openings, store closures, refits, baby shows… all of it was hard work but so much bloody fun. There was so many times I would listen to my friends moan about their jobs and I would wonder if it was normal for someone to enjoy their job as much as me.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were days when it was bad, days when the expectation felt too high. I remember once, when I was a CSS, we had such a bad visit with the Regional Manager I cried. The reason I always got up and dusted myself off the next day, the reason we all did, was because we felt that we were making a difference. That what we did mattered. That sense of purpose was essential and made us all give a shit about what we were doing. It gave us a reason to put a smile on our face and come to work, even when our personal lives were falling apart. Our customers needed us. To help them navigate the scariest (but most rewarding) times of their lives was an honour.

 

We did it for them.

 

The couple that was clueless but so excited to take this next step together. The couple that had an unplanned surprise but decided to go for it. The couple that had spent the cost of a small home on IVF and had finally got lucky. The single mums (and dads) that had never planned to be single parents but had had no choice but to carry on. The ones that thought they knew everything and then realised actually there was more to this than meets the eye. The dads that had to run out to get the stuff they had forgotten because baby had come early “how do I know which breast pads are best?!”. The ones celebrating their rainbow babies. Scared but hopeful. We were next to them every step of the way.

 

Watching these people grow their families was an honour, and being a part of it was so special. When they came back to show off baby and you got to have a cuddle, when they came back to see you specifically for baby number 2 because you’d been so helpful with baby number 1; “I’ve been looking for you!!!”

 

Selfishly, one of the things that makes me saddest is that I’ll never be able to shop there myself. If I’m ever lucky enough to have babies of my own I’ll never experience an Expectant Parent Event, or get to visit to choose my car seat or pick my nursery furniture. Select a ‘coming home’ outfit for baby.

 

I’m going to shut this down now because I’m rambling and most people have probably turned off. Simply put, thank you Mothercare. For absolutely everything. You gave this girl a career, you made her believe in herself. You gave her some of the best times of her life. You connected her with some of the best people ever, some of whom I’m still lucky enough to call friends.

 

There are some heartbreaks you never get over, and this is always going to be one of them for me.

 

To everyone that is still there, closing their store doors for the last time, I’m sending you virtual hugs and so much love. You all fought until the end. You should be incredibly proud of that.

 

 

Mothercare UK, 1961-2020

You’ll be missed.

 

xoxo M

• Dorentina •

Day 11.

Hello.

Dorentina, Queen Dora … it’s your turn for a letter.

I mean, I said a lot of nice things about you in your card but I also figured that if I didn’t write you a letter then you’d probably cut me so here it is (I’m joking… kind of)

I have worked with many people over the years and I can truly say, you’re one of a kind.

Take that as you wish 😉

Can you believe it’s been 4 weeks since I saw your face? FOUR WEEKS. Honestly… time is flying.

The thing I miss about our old work is the people… I laughed at someone / something every day. Every single day when I worked with you. I miss that. I also miss the M&S apple crumble and custard dates we used to have. I haven’t had one since I left because I feel like if I do, I’m cheating on you 😂

Anyway, to keep it short and sweet. I think you’re bloody fantastic. And pretty, let’s not forget pretty. Considering you thought I was rude when you first met me, I don’t think this turned out too badly, do you?

Thanks for being my wing woman when we worked together, and gracing me with that Big Dick energy. Knowing I had someone that had my back in that place was so reassuring. I hope you know I always had yours too.

I hope if you learnt one thing from working with me it was to trust yourself more, you’re a good manager – dedicated, loyal, you get the job done and encourage others to come along with you (unless it was Ben, he didn’t have a choice, he had to come whether he wanted to or not 😂) Always happy to let the team have their fun so long as the job got done – I know I don’t have to tell you how important that is.

You special – and I mean that in a nice way, not a sarcastic way (for once)

Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you because I know it will be exciting and a great story to listen to. Let’s hang out soon.

Missing you and your big dick energy, errrryday.

Xoxo Mik

• Mummy Cheese •

Mummy Cheese.

You’re my day 10.

1. I miss you

2. I love you

3. I miss you

Please come back to me.

One of the BEST things to come out of my time at Mothercare. Swear down. I miss calling you after conference calls on a Tuesday to have a chat and occasionally advise you on what to do when a pigeon gets stuck in the shop (RIP Clive).

I got the good vibes from you the first time I met you. Region 9 (I think) meeting in Maidstone. You were the new kid and you walked in with your backpack and I was like “she’s my people, she likes backpacks!!” (honestly, I know, I’m weird)

Since then you’ve just gone up even further in my estimations.

You’re such a support to me, you help me cut through all the noise and remind me to pick the weeds from my garden (so to speak). You say the things I need to hear, even when I’m not really ready to hear or accept them. You just keep saying it until it sinks in and I go ‘you were right’ and you smile and say ‘I know’.

I know that you always have my back. Please know I always have yours.

We have the same (excellent) taste in music and I always looked forward to the conferences/ xmas parties / leaving do’s because I knew we would be on the same team asking the DJ for a bit of Dizzee or old garage chooons.

You love of a good pun is the cherry on top of the cake.

You are beautiful, inside and out, and can rock that Pixie cut in a way that no one else can. You have no idea how jealous that makes me.

I love how much you love your new job.

I love that they are recognising your greatness. You deserve it. I feel like you’ve found your place there and it’s so amazing to hear about and see.

My only issue is that it means we aren’t working together. Please can we work together again?! Some day in the future? Purleeeeaseeee.

Love you, Rachel.

Thanks for being my pal.

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

• 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

moments to memories

I am fully in the Christmas spirit now, I had my first Christmas party yesterday and I’m feeling festive. I surprisingly did not wake up with a raging hangover but felt pretty fresh.

The last week or so I have been thinking about my favourite memories I’ve made in the last year. I have, overall, had a crackin’ 2017. Sure, there have been some terrible, terrible lows but I can look back on the year and see where the good times are and smile.

Here are some of my highlights from 2017

Dis-day 2018.

you cannot beat starting the new year off with Mickey and co.

 

 

LA KINGS Game

i finally, finally, finally found myself out in LA in season to go to an ice hockey game. it did not disappoint.

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Arlo was born.

my adorable second godson/nephew who isn’t my nephew but is was born. he is a dream.

 

Irish adventures.

one of my favourite countries in the world, the sexiest accent in the world and some of my favourite people in the world. i can never go wrong with a trip there.

going back to my old job.

the best decision i have made this year. swear down.

 

star wars day

friends and star wars. i don’t think i really need to add anything else to that, do i?

 

 

Nick Lashaway day

the best day with my American familia, celebrating one of the best! on a day that could have been so so so sad we all managed to smile and laugh through the tears at memories of Nick and i certainly learnt more about him on that day. the strength his whole family have shown, none more than his mama, is incredible. it was a beautiful day filled with love and i am so privileged to have been a part of it.

 

 

london zoo 

my two favourite chicken nuggets took me to the zoo for my birthday because they know i love that shit. i love spending time with them playas. couple of the year.

Passenger concert

the first of my two favourite memories based at Kew Gardens this year. i have loved Passenger and his music for a wee while and i was finally able to go to see him live. in typical british summer style it was absolutely pissing down but as soon as he hit the stage i forgot about the rain. what a gem.

Brighton 

in the summer my best pal, my 2 nephews and i spent the day on brighton beach watching The Lion King. hashtag winning

Kew gardens 2

i spent  a lovely day here in the summer with my pals amy and byng. we went to see byngs younger brother in The Wind and the Willows. the sun shone, the play was super cute and we laughed. loads. i really have great friends.

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annie

tomorrow, tomorrow, i love yaaaa, tomorrow! for my sisters birthday we all went to see annie in the west end. miranda hart played miss hannigan – she was a scream. i enjoyed it so much – i normally cry at the theatre and this was no exception. a great day.

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NYC

back to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of to celebrate momma sophs birthday. we hung out with old friends, julie came down from boston for a day, it was magicallll.

 

montrose days

i always enjoy trips back to montrose and this time was no different. whilst mark and i were driving around montrose singing along to some pop song, i had a moment where i just thought, yeah. i like my life.

mj

this time last year my nephew and i really weren’t pals. this year we made friends. he’s just a wee dote. i love him.

 

xmas party

the last minute entry was yesterday’s xmas party. i bloody love my work collegues, i bloody love my boss. i just bloody love my job. don’t get me wrong it does my feckin’ head in from time to time but i have great people around me to lean on if it gets too much.

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2017 isn’t quite done yet, i know but it was fun thinking back over the last year and what i’ve got up to. some is here, some isn’t. with a busy december coming up i’m sure i will have more memories to add to these by the end of the month.

i hope you have a december filled with festive cheer.

until next week,

M xoxo