Hello, November!

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So, somehow, it’s freaking November already! I have absolutely no idea where this year has gone, it seems to have whizzed by in a blink.

Now, as I prepare myself to mutter my apologies, which are becoming painstakingly familiar, I think we can all just admit I can be crowned Shittest Blogger of 2016 and be done with it. I accept my fate, as no matter how good my intentions have been, for the life of me I have struggled to actually get shit done.

So what has me crawling back out of my cave today, you may ask? Well, it’s November first, which, as many of my fellow bloggers and writers know, means one very important thing to us: it’s Nanowrimo time.

Despite a severe lack of planning (AKA, I haven’t even entirely settled on a story yet), I am determined to use this to pull me out of my reading/writing slump this year! 30 days, 50,000 words, 1 novel.

Am I delusional to be diving in with so little preparation? Quite possibly. Then again, last year I think I decided on a story on about November 6th, and still managed to finish on November 30th (at around 11.57pm, but that’s besides the point!), so I know it can be done.

Admittedly, my efforts of beginning thus far this evening have mainly consisted of testing about 7 variations of how to hand letter the ‘Nanowrimo’ header for my Bullet Journal (my new obsession, and what I’m hoping will assist me in pulling my finger out my arse and keeping my chaotic life rather more organised!), but I will get there despite my procrastination! (The more observant may note this post in itself to be a procrastination, but shhhh!)

So anyway, that’s me all revved up and ready to get back on the horse this November! Best of luck to everyone else taking part too! Xxx

And in other news…

As it’s been a horrendously long period of time since I last blogged, here’s a little catch up one what’s new in the world of Paris…princess

I’m being a princess!

Well, obviously I’m a princess everyday, but sometimes it’s nice to have it recognised on¬†a more public scale ūüėČ so it’s pretty cool that I landed the role of principal girl, AKA Princess Jill in this year’s pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, on at the Jersey Opera House. We’ve only started rehearsing recently, but it’s a great laugh and a really fab cast.

A little slice of heaven

At the end of September, I enjoyed a fabulous holiday to the incredible island of Mauritius. I can’t put into words how beautiful it was, as it wouldn’t do it justice (or maybe I’m just a shit writer?!) but it was heaven, and the whole trip was just pure bliss.

 

Anyway, better dash, I’ve got a book to write this month!

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Legally Blonde: the Musical ūüíĖ

So despite the very best of intentions when I put up my last post promising to be better, I was rather foolish about my timings, as the production I was in was just about to go full pelt on rehearsals and then hit the stage.

So, what’s consumed my life the last few months instead of reading? Being in Jersey Green Room Club’s production of Legally Blonde: The Musical. If you haven’t seen this show, I absolutely insist you hunt it down. I’ve been a huge Legally Blonde fan since it first came out, and ohmigod, the musical does not disappoint!

As some of you may know, performing arts has always been the other big love of my life, alongside reading, but I gave it up about 5 or 6 years ago after spending years battling with stage fright to the point of severe panic attacks when I had to perform, until¬†I had to put my own health first and make the decision to give it up. It broke my heart, and every time I have been to the theatre in recent years, no matter how much I’ve loved it, there is always a little piece of my heart that cracks with longing, envy and regret.

As a lot of you may also know, I’ve been on a hell of a personal journey in the last year or so, and am finally in a place where I feel more comfortable and more confident in myself. So, in October, I decided to go along to the auditions on a whim, hoping to get a place in the chorus. Not only did I get a part, but a principal role of Margot, Elle’s quirky best friend and one 3rd of her Greek Chorus, who happens to be my favourite character (with Elle, of course!).

13043282_10209690945657399_8869155335259057662_nRehearsals have been pretty crazy over the last few months but my GOD, have I loved every second. Right from the word ‘go’ I¬†had no qualms about singing or dancing in front of the other cast in rehearsals, which would normally have been a big issue for me, and I have been incredibly lucky that the other 2 thirds of the Greek Chorus have been amazing and we have become such close friends, supporting each other through it all.

When the curtain went up on our first night at the Jersey Opera House earlier this month, I had butterflies in my tummy but, for the first time ever, in a good way – I was excited! Come the final performance after an intense couple of weeks on stage, I was in tears by the time the curtain came down, overwhelmed by how much I had loved every second of being part of such an incredible show, part of such a wonderful cast, and mostly for overcoming my fears and allowing myself to finally love performing the way I’ve always wanted to; whole-heartedly and fearlessly.

The show finished last weekend, and this week has been a strange crash back down to reality! But there’s not a doubt in my mind that I’ll be back on that stage as soon as possible. As for my gorgeous new friends, we’ve started our own Lunch Club so we can still see each other every week, with a few random dinners and nights out thrown in for good measure every now and then ūüėČ

On the plus side, this does mean I will finally have more time to catch up on my reading and reviewing! I’m away a lot over the next few weeks, but will be doing what I can, so just bear with me for now!

Missed y’all!

*Snaps* xxx

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Hi, It’s Me, I’m Not Dead!

After realising it’s been a whole three months since my last post, I figured it was about time I finally crawled out from under my rock and put pen to paper (or¬†fingers to keys) and made myself get something down. I’d normally be writing my monthly wrap-up post about now, so I guess I’ll try to do a bit of a¬†quarterly one instead!

I’ve sat here several times attempting to put together a post, but somehow come up short. I guess for starters, I’m not even entirely sure why I haven’t been writing in the first place. I have been busy, incredibly so, but it’s something a bit more that.

I seemed to somehow rediscover my writing spark around October, and bashed out a new first draft surprisingly easily in November, but some point after that I seemed to lose my mojo a bit again. I guess the feeling encompassed most aspects of my life really; work, friendships, love, health.

Some old, familiar problems started to rear their ugly head again, which had me at a worrying precipice for a while, but I’ve spent the last month to six weeks regaining some control and getting things back in order again, focussing on the healthy, positive person I want to be, and I’m pleased to say I’m in a much better place for it.

So for now, I’m using my days to focus on making the best of me. Taking care of my health, spending time with friends and family, and working towards the goals I somewhat neglected last year.

As for the bookish side of things, I’ve done some reading and some writing, though not nearly enough of either! But my heads in a better place, and – despite a sincere lack of free time – I’m ready to try and nail down on this again. I’d wanted to have a finish draft of my first book by now, and instead I’ve put off editing and am sat in the same place I was a year a go, but now with two barely revisited¬†first drafts instead of one! So, I have rescheduled my deadline¬†till the end of this year, and¬†now need to work my little butt off to¬†make sure I actually get it done – wish me luck!

Now… how the hell have you all been??

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Monthly Wrap Up: November 2015

decemberFreaking December, you guys! The final stretch of the year. I can’t quite believe it. In some ways this year has seriously zoomed by, but when I look back SO MUCH has happened. It’s been a hell of a roller coaster for sure, but on the whole it’s been a pretty awesome year with a particularly awesome journey for me personally. And now we are solidly in winter. While my shivering body weeps at the cold temperatures that I am unable to deal with (I was not meant to be British, I swear, I belong somewhere warmer!), there’s still a big chunk of my heart that loves the cosiness of winter. Hot chocolates, chai lattes, blankets, jumpers, thick socks and, most importantly…

It’s Chriiiiiistmaaaassss!!!

I’M SO FREAKING EXCITED YOU GUYS!!!! Yes, I am a massive 5-year-old at heart, no, I don’t care. I bloody well love it. My heart’s been in Christmas-mode since my birthday passed on November 20th, and now that it’s December I am pretty much full on freaking out. At first I worried about living alone this Christmas, but I’m away with family for Christmas itself, and my ex actually¬†didn’t like Christmas (weirdo), so this year I am just going to go all out, 1000% Christmas crazy. There will be tinsel freaking everywhere, and I don’t even like tinsel, but the point is BECAUSE I CAN. I will have my very own grotto – god knows I¬†already have the penguins!! (And the bloody temperatures for it – my flat is arctic!!) – and that in itself is another reason this month and Christmas are so awesome: Penguins. Everywhere. ALL OF THE PENGUINS.

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Christmas is especially exciting this year being my gorgeous little beastie’s first Christmas, and my oh my, do I plan on spoiling him rotten! I really need to stop getting him stuff, but it’s so hard! Everything is sooo cute! And he’s so perfect he deserves it all. So, apologies in advance to all my other friends and family who are unlikely to get anything because I’ve bankrupted myself spoiling Sonnie; I have no regrets. I can’t wait to spend Christmas day with him.

Honestly, just thinking about Christmas I’m getting over excited. I’ve come to realised it brings out quite an aggressive excitement in me, where I literally feel the need to jump and shout and generally behave in a way which is (unfortunately) not accepted in every day situations. Personally, I think the world is a poorer place for it. At least at Casa de Paris, this whole month will be one amazing festive party, even if it only has an attendance of one. I will bring enough festive spirit (in both a figurative and literal AKA alcoholic sense) to make up for a hundred.

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Nanowrimo

If anyone did notice my absence throughout the month of November, it was – for once! – with very good reason. Being me, I did my typical leave-it-to-the-last-minute game where I decided I wasn’t going to participate, then changed my mind around the 5th of November. No plan, no idea, no outline, nothing. So I didn’t actually start for the first week or so, and with a hectically busy month of Birthday plans etc, this resulted a mad writing frenzy yesterday, the 30th, where I type like a loon for 6 hours until I finally updated my word count at over 50,000 with one minute to spare at 23:59, and typed those two precious words, ‘THE END.’

Now I can finally breathe easy again and tuck it away until I bring it back out in the New Year with the big ole red pen to start working through it.

Birthday Shenanigans

A couple of weeks a go saw me turn the milestone corner of a quarter of a century, and I have to say it’s freaked me out a bit. I can no longer say I’m in my early twenties. FUCK. What have I done with myself? What have I achieved? To be totally honest, not bloody much. BUT, I am on a much better path right now to head towards the things I do want to achieve, so I just have to focus on that (while sobbing into my wine glass alone at night). I’m an optimist, I swear.

However, the one thing I did do was made sure my early twenties went out with a bang, and had a whole week of celebrations. It was a really lovely week spent with my closest friends and family, filled with love, laughter, dancing and theatre, which was pretty darn perfect.

November in Books

Lack of reading this month is actually guilt-free for once, as I have been in my writing cave, so have hardly dared look at a book the last couple of weeks for fear of distraction (naturally, I found a hundred other ways to procrastinate, but that’s not the point!).

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Books I Plan to Read in December.

I am going to be massively catching up on my christmas reads throughout December. I actually had some annual leave left to take, so I finish on December 16th and am off to the New Year, which will leave me plenty of time to read all of the Christmas books ūüôā

What are you looking forward to this month? Are you as much of a Christmas fanatic as I am?

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Monthly Wrap Up: October 2015

As if it’s November already! Where the hell has this year gone?! It’s crazy! However, I have several friends visiting home to Jersey this month and my best friend from school is actually moving back, so I am very excited ūüôā team that with birthday celebrations, winter snugglyness, hot chocolates and ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES COMMENCING, and November is looking pretty awesome. My tree will totes be up before the week is out.

And, as I’m about to elaborate on, October was pretty freaking awesome too. This does mean it’s a rather long wrap-up post, but it was just too fabulous a month to skimp on ūüôā

Holly Martin’s White Cliff Bay Party

The first weekend of October was SUPER EXCITING as I flew to London to attend Holly’s launch party, and generally to hug and squish lots of lovely writer and blogger friends. It was superb. Sharon and I met for a drink and catch up on the Friday afternoon before we headed to the party, where I just met so many amazing people I feel like I’ve known my whole life, mainly for the first time and some for the second time having met before in March, like Simona and Sharon. It was just such a special night and I loved every second gossiping with these amazing women (and the odd man, hi¬†Holly’s dad and Olly!!) and guzzling far too much rose than can be called acceptable. Books, friends and wine *ahhh*, what a perfect combination.

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Saturday was spent with Sharon, Simona, Maryline and Rachel, and we had a lovely stroll around Convent Garden before lunch at Jamie’s Italian (yum!) and in the evening we saw Kinky Boots, which was just fabulous. I had a horrendously early start on Sunday, then spent 9 hours sat in Gatwick as I missed my flight due to train cancellations and delays, and had to book a new flight for the evening, so that was all a wee bit stressful, but still couldn’t really dampen how awesome a weekend it was, and how happy I am to have met and squished so many of my lovely online friends.

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Legally Blonde

The week before I went on holiday, after years of deliberation, I finally plucked up the courage to audition for the local amateur dramatics group. It was something I did all the time as a kid, but I get bad stage fright which has prevented me from having done¬†anything for a very long time. Next year, the local club is doing Legally Blonde, and I’m very happy to say I got the role of Elle’s best friend, Margot. It’s my first show in ten years, so to have got a lead is really awesome and I am SO excited to get started, it’s just such a fun show and I can’t wait to just get involved with all that again.

Walk Like an Egyptian

On Tuesday 20th October, I woke up at an ungodly hour to make my way to the airport and begin my travels to the beautiful land of Egypt, somewhere that has pretty much become my favourite place in the world over the last couple of years – largely¬†to do with temperatures consistently exceeding 30 degrees celsius, which just feels much more like my natural climate! As soon as I¬†stepped off that plane and felt the rush of warm air hit me, I couldn’t stop smiling.

This was a particularly special holiday for me, as for the first time in my life I went away by myself. Having spent months discussing/debating holidays with my ex, but never getting round to booking anything (thank god, looking back!), I had pretty much resigned myself to a holiday-less year when we broke up. Within a couple of months though, I realised I was being a total moron and question what the fuck I was doing. Why the hell should I not have a holiday just because I don’t have anyone to go with? If anything, when I’m on holiday I just want to lie in the sun and read all day, occasionally swimming in between, and let’s be honest – those¬†aren’t exactly sociable activities, so I am more than capable of achieving that on my own! So I found time I could take off work and began my search of where to go for a fairly cheap and cheerful holiday I’d be comfortable on my own and – more importantly – where’d have the hottest weather in late October. All signs quickly started pointing to Egypt, and while I wasn’t sure at first having spent two weeks there last year, I did love it and the promise of heat won me over.

Arriving at the hotel late, tired and hungry on my first night after 15 hours of travel and just missing the ¬†restaurant which closed mere minutes before I arrived, I¬†had a quick couple of drinks in the bar before turning in for the night. At 7am¬†I wondered down to the poolside and was faced with¬†my most taxing decision of the week:¬†which sun lounger do I choose? Where will get the best sunlight hours for optimum tanning?! This is serious stuff. Pleased with my decision, I headed off for breakfast before returning to my selected lounger, where I remained until the sunset, with the exception of a few dips in the pool and a few trips to the bar a few metres away. It’s a tough life, but someone had to do it, and I spent every following day doing the exact same thing. Suffice to say, I was in heaven.

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I did have a slight wobble for all of about half an hour that first evening in the bar, where I wondered if I could really do the whole being on my own for a week thing, but I took stock of the situation, realised I was in a beautiful (HOT!) country with nothing more to do than swim, sunbathe and read, no one else to worry about whatsover and realised: fuck it! This is amazing. After that I had one of the best weeks of my life, and loved every goddamn second of it and am trying to plan a way to go back and live there, naturally.

Honestly, as soon as I stopped¬†worrying I think I was probably the most relaxed and content I’ve ever felt. And I wasn’t truly alone, because I got to know other guests and the staff, and we had a great time together. What I enjoyed was having the luxury to spend time with them, or choose to simply sit and enjoy my own company with a book if I wanted to! Though ¬†honestly, I think they thought I was pretty weird the first few days, constantly having my nose in a book – especially when I began each meal by cutting it¬†into little pieces like one might for a child, just so I could eat one-handed and hold my kindle in the other! But they soon got used to me and it became a conversation starter.

It was definitely up there with Best Holidays Ever, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go alone again, possibly even to the same resort.¬†As I’ve mentioned previously, these past few months have been really important for me, and I’ve found I’ve become more myself – the myself I want to be – than ever before, and being able to spend so much time in my own company, and relax and enjoy it, is a massive achievement for me, and something I totally recommend.

October in Books

So it turns out what I needed to get me out of my reading slump was a good old week in the Egyptian sunshine! I may have to do that more often then ūüėČ it was slightly odd as I was catching up on a lot of Christmas reading, which can be slightly difficult to get into when lying in 35 degrees of heat, but I enjoyed them none the less. I tried to get a nice mix of Christmas, general catch up, and some nice summery/sunny books too.

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Books Releases to Get Excited About in November

I am totally in full-on gunas-a-blazin’ Christmas mode now, so nearly all releases to get excited about this month are Christmas related. Oh, and the new Cecelia Ahern, obviously!

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A Christmas Tail by Cressida McLaughlin¬†‚Äď November 5th

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake ‚Äď November 5th

A Girl’s Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk – November 5th

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern ‚Äď November 5th

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons – November 6th

Wickham Hall, Part 4: White Christmas – Novemeber 26th

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What are you looking forward to this month?

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Monthly Wrap Up: September 2015

I still cannot quite believe it is October! Where does the time go? As much as I am a total sun-worshipper, who adores the heat, I do love how snug and cozy autumn is. I’m looking forward to snuggling up with hot chocolates or chai lattes, to autumn walks through rustling leaves, to amazing winter squash recipes, to carving pumpkins and fancy dress, to layered clothing and chunky boots. There’s so much to enjoy this season, so as much as I’ll miss the sunshine (which we didn’t even get that much of!) I definitely plan to make the most of it. Plus I’ve just bought a winter wetsuit so I can stay in the sea, and I’ll be jetting off for a week in the sun soon anyway! So I will hopefully get the best of both worlds ūüôā

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Reading Slump.

I entered September totally ready to beat my reading slump and delve back into things full throttle, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I really don’t know what it is – it’s not that I’m not getting into books, because I’ve really enjoyed what I have read, I just haven’t read much. Also, I’ve just been downright busy, which is actually quite a pleasant (and surprising) change ¬†– I can’t remember the last time I was actually out and enjoying life and socialising so much that I didn’t manage to read. Don’t get me wrong – I miss the reading, but normally I’d pick reading over most other things, so actually enjoying myself so much that I¬†don’t have time to read¬†is in some ways quite nice for once.

World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10th, it was World Suicide Prevention Day, for which I decided to speak out about my own experience with depression. I just had to note it here because I was absolutely overwhelmed but the love and support I received from you all, so I just wanted to say a great big thank you. It was a very cathartic exercise, writing it all down, though emotionally exhausting too! But I’m in a really great place right now, and putting my story out there – and receiving such phenomenal support – has really helped me feel even more strong and empowered. You guys are awesome. Seriously.

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September in Books

As aforementioned, sod all! There really is no excuse for being this bad, but somehow I was! I hang my head in shame.

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Books Releases to Get Excited About in October

ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS BOOKS ARE HEEEEEERREEE! Oh my God, it’s so exciting, I am feeling so festive already! Here’s a few of my fave choices for October releases (congrats Bookouture on the super strong Christmas reads game!):

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Christmas Kisses and Mistletoe Wishes – October 16th

Bella’s Christmas Bake Off – October 22nd

Snowflakes on Silver Cove – October 30th

Books I Plan to Read in October.

Luckily, I am taking myself away to Egypt for a week later this month, which means I have one whole week on my own, with nothing to do but lie in the sun and read. So, I have absolutely NO EXCUSES for not catching up on some reading! Still fairly unlikely I’ll actually read all these, but here’s hoping!!

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What are you looking forward to this month?

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World Suicide Prevention Day: What It Means To Me

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. Of all causes out there in the world, this is one of the very closest to my heart, as someone who has both battled with severe depression, and lost a family member to suicide.

It is also particularly prominent to me as it is 5 years ago this week, on the 13th, since my life was turned upside down, and my depression entirely took over my life. To say these 5 years have been a roller coaster would be a complete understatement.

I have been lower than I ever knew to be humanly possible. I have lived inside the darkness, where for months on end I simply could not see a possible future past that day, that week, and certainly not that year. I have had times where I have been unable to get out of bed, let alone leave the house. Over this time I have punished myself by starving myself for days on end, purging every single thing I ate, and slicing hundreds, possibly thousands, of cuts into my body. I have weighed less than a child, seen my bones, and still hated myself for being ‘fat.’ I have carved into my wrist drunkenly with a kitchen knife, and taken two overdoses which hospitalised me, each time feeling even more broken for failing.

While I have been on the slow and treacherous road to recovery over the last couple of years, never once did I actually think I’d be where I have arrived in the last few months. For the first time in my entire life, I can look in a mirror and not despise what I see. In fact, there are times I actually think I look nice. Yes, there are lumps and bumps there that I don’t like, but for the first time, I’m still gonna eat that damn pizza, or that whole tub of ice cream, if I damn well feel like it. Or whatever the hell I want. And maybe I’ll go for a run tomorrow to compensate, but maybe I won’t. But I’m not gonna torture myself either way.

For the first time, I do not feel guilty for simply being me. I no longer have an overwhelming sense that I am a horrible, pathetic person, who is worthless, and nothing but a burden to those around me.

In fact, I know myself to be a loving, loyal and caring person. I will go above and beyond for my friends and family. I am someone who is, or at least can be, fun to be around. Hell, at times I think I’m damn right hilarious! I also finally know that I deserve to be loved and cared for too. I have skills and talents. I am able to set myself goals for my future, like writing my book, like getting married and having a family, because I can finally see myself actually having a future, one where I am happy and loved and deserve to be so.

I am also no longer ashamed to talk about where I was, because I am proud of how far I have come. I see the scars on my body and they are a reminder that I was stronger than what tried to destroy me. They are my battle scars and they remind me that I won the battle.

I am not what happened to me. I am not what you made me and I am not what you did. I am what I choose to be. And I choose to be happy, and fearless, and beautiful, and loved; just the way I am.

And right now? Sure, I’m not where I thought I’d be when I mapped out my life as a kid, or at school. Hell, I’m freshly single at 24, with barely a clue what the hell I wanna do in life. But I feel strong, and fearless, and empowered and amazing. There are so many things I want to do and see and read and taste in this crazy, beautiful world we live in, and I am excited to get out there and do it all. For the first time I can hand on heart say: I love my life. I have an incredible family and network of friends, as well as this unbelievable online community, all of whom mean the world to me, and I can count on for support. I am lucky enough to live on this absolutely amazing little island, surrounded by beaches and beauty. I don’t know where I’m going yet, or exactly what I’m doing, and that is so totally okay. Because it’s going to be an amazing journey getting there, and I plan to have one hell of a ride!

To any one who is still going through that darkness:

When you are not able to see a way out, I promise you it is still there. Believe me, I know, I know – it’s almost impossible to believe someone who says it – I used to think the same. ‘That’s great for you, but it’s just not gonna happen for me,’ was what I thought when I read stories of recovery and coming out the other side. But I promise you, it is 100% within your grasp. It is going to be difficult, and long and there are times you will slip but that is totally okay. You’ll get there. And even when you are there, you may still have bad days, but again: that is totally okay. You’re human. We are fragile, and we are allowed to feel down, and weak and sad at times. Even without reason. More than anything, I urge you to talk to someone. A friend, a family member, a therapist or a helpline. Sometimes it’s easier talking to a total stranger.
Here’s the number for the Samaritans: 08457 909090, or¬†alternatively please feel free to¬†email me here,¬†and I promise I will always be there to talk or listen.

Just don’t go through this on your own. You are not alone, not ever, no matter how much it feels that way.

And no matter how much you can’t see it, the following things never cease to be true:

  • You are beautiful.
  • You matter.
  • You are unique.
  • No one else can play your part.
  • You are loved.
  • You would be missed.
  • Life goes on.

I’ll see you tomorrow xxx

Tomorrow15-ProfileImageRIP Dusty, you are forever missed xxxxx