Irish flag

The Bravest Irishman I’ll Ever Know

Sitting here with my headphones on trying to figure out a way to put all of the words together. Facing the fact that as you get older, you lose more people in your life, can be difficult. Not just friends who drift away but family members who you were close to. I don’t believe that there’s ever a right time or that we can make ourselves ready, even if we know it’s coming.

When I take part in Race for Life next month it’s going to be a very emotional day.

This isn’t only because of the huge crowds supporting Cancer Research UK. The run in Manchester takes place on the same day as my auntie and uncle’s ruby wedding anniversary. I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to help others who aren’t aware of neuroendocrine tumours.

My uncle might have been stubborn at times but his heart was always in the right place. Throughout all of my life, he was always there and he always cared. He welcomed anyone and everyone into his life. And we all know when getting a taxi home from his and auntie Linda’s, uncle Dom would always go out to the taxi driver to make sure you got you home safe.

Growing up as a child, uncle Dom always made me tea and toast for breakfast.

And I mean, he would pile loads on a plate to make sure you were full. Whenever I was sent home with a bad migraine from work he was there to let me into his house to either give me a blanket to lie on the couch with or send me up to bed with a glass of water. When we were little and I stayed over with my friends, he used to come into the room at night with a torch on his face and pretend to be a ghost.

I remember sitting there with you in the living room watching Fifteen to One after school. Every time I see a cowboy or Christmas film I’ll think of you.

There’s no one quite like you.

Your love for Man United, Rex and Tyson, Poker on your laptop, Irish music, a can of beer, and love for your family was like no other.

Uncle Dom you’re no longer in pain. The world is going to be such a different place without the crazy ‘Irish Salfordian’ in town. Here’s to you and all of the good times you brought into our lives. Miss and love you always.


If Cancer Research UK is close to your heart please support me as I run in memory of uncle Dom and to help others facing cancer. Donations can be made via our Cancer Research UK Giving Page. 

purple and pink starry sky

To My Big Sister Who I Never Got to Meet

9th December is my sister’s birthday and anniversary. A day which my mum and dad never forget no matter how many years go by. A couple of years ago I finally asked mum the questions that were always on my mind about losing her baby girl. This year marks 26 years. And mum never puts the Christmas tree up until after 9th December.

Each year I wonder what it would’ve been like to have a big sister. You hear many siblings saying how they clash with their sisters or they can be annoying. But surely there are so many positives. Here are the things that I think about…

The girly chat, following a path of guidance.

Friendships, periods, makeup, boys, general girl stuff, you know? And even coursework and exams. When it comes to guidance I’ve taken my own path and done things quite independently. As close as I am to my mum, I couldn’t always talk about all of the girly things. A lot of the time I kept a lot to myself unless I told a friend. I always felt behind when it came to boys, knowing how to apply makeup and being the girl you think you’re supposed to be. But then I hope that my sister would’ve told me to be the person I want to be and that is being myself.

Someone who’s there on stressful days when no one understands…

I often imagine coming home and being able to run to the girl who would’ve been my big sister to scream, cry, or just rant away. Instead I scream into my pillow just like Lilo does with her sister in Lilo and Stitch. So perhaps, that how it would’ve been on some days anyway if we got in each other’s way?

The go to person for fashion advice.

I know loads of girls complain when their sisters wear or borrow their clothes, some they never see themselves in ever again. But isn’t that part of being sisters? I also think that my big sister would’ve been amazing with advice on what to wear. I don’t know why but I just think she would’ve got me to be fashionable a lot sooner. It would’ve been funny to see the styles that we both went through influenced by our parents and then by our own decisions.

None of these thoughts can change anything but I remind myself…

I’ve got a best friend in my life who’s like a sister when it comes to someone who will sit in a car for at least an hour catching up and sharing everything that’s going on before you’ve even got out of the car to go into the shop for god knows what. Food, clothes, Disney stuff? We don’t always know but we do it anyway.

Last but never least, you have a man who has talked to you about things you didn’t even imagine anyone on earth would. Those weird random traits of yours. The public embarrassments when you’re fooling around.

Oh and don’t forget you’ve spoke to him about your periods, toilet habits, and trying to perfect a certain kind of hair style or outfit. What does he tell me every time? He tells me that, “It’s going to be okay.” This isn’t because he doesn’t care and just says it. It’s actually because he cares more than anyone in the world and he’s right when he says everything will be okay. It always will be because he’s always there for me.

He will completely understand after reading this post what I’m talking about.

The amount of times I’ve told him I’ve always wanted to be the daughter that my mum and dad deserve, I can’t even tell you.

Nicola, it seems that we couldn’t both be here together. Mum and dad will never forget you. And even though we never met, I’ll always think about you. Happy 26th birthday. You are their brightest star in the sky. I’ll always imagine what it would’ve been like to have you as my big sister. I think we would’ve been the best of friends.

balloons in cloudy sky

Wishing You Were Here on All of Your Birthdays And Every Day

Hey granny, I can’t believe it’s your 77th birthday today. Whilst I’m wishing you were here I thought I’d dedicate this post to you. February marked 16 years since you became an angel looking over us. It seems like yesterday when I was sat on your knee whilst you were singing songs to me. Me, you, grandad, Phil, and Gaz taking spontaneous trips together. Saying no when I wanted to play shop so I only had grandad as my customer. But I loved you then and I still do now.

You and grandad were the two people in my life who shown me that, no matter how many years go by, the people you love stay in your heart forever.

I always liked how yours and grandad’s birthday are close together – 22nd and 26th July. Two dates which never disappear from my mind. It’s the same with your anniversaries too. It’s like my body is on auto mode, with a reminder in the lead up to them days before.

There are videos and photographs of you feeding me in my bouncer when I was a baby. I might not have the vision of that but I do have a mountain of memories shared with you. Adding salt to a packet of chicken super noodles; using jam and butter without getting either into the other jar; leaving nails everywhere around the house (the ones you put on the walls to hang photos up with); taking me on your shopping trips with you; putting my hair in that little bun I always liked with a million hair grips; and a whole lot more.

We had a special little bond didn’t we? The seven years I got to spend with you were some of the most magical times in my life. I still imagine you being here. Looking over my shoulder like you always did. There’s a photo in a frame on my bedroom wall. It’s of me, you, and grandad. And you’re smiling and looking down at me with your hand on my shoulder. I can still feel your hand. And I remember my smile from that exact moment.

Being your flower girl is going to stay as the most amazing memory in my heart from all the weddings I’ve been to yet.

I held those rings on a cushion thinking that yours and grandad’s love would last forever. And the truth is, I believe it has. A love that always stays with one another is something I’ve always wanted. The world took one of you away. But I think a dream came true for the both of you before this happened.

When you were no longer here, grandad was my go-to person growing up. My best friend. I could confide in him about anything. The most frightening things I’d seen, he heard all about them. And of course, the happiest ones. Most of which were the times we spent evenings chatting about you. I think you knew he’d have a huge job looking after us all. But you didn’t doubt him. And that’s why he never let go.

I learnt that no amount of tears could bring you back.

I’ve said before that I wish you both would’ve seen me growing up together. I’m more than three times the age I was when you were here. But I can only hope that I’ve turned out to be the young woman you imagined me to be. I pictured you at the school gates for quite a few years. It took me a while to understand that you weren’t here. I spent time alone crying. And I even cried when I was with my friends. I burst into tears not being able to say my lines for a school play. And I even let the teacher shout at me for it, as they were unaware.

Grandad taught me how to be strong showing me the importance of being able to love someone no matter how near or far away from you they are. He shown me that the ones you love won’t ever think you’ve forgotten about them. And he was always referring to his love for you. I understood this more as I got older.

Happy birthday, granny. Wishing you were here today, on all of your birthdays, and each day we spend apart.

balloons close up in the sky

What Missing You Really Means To Me

Have you told anyone “I’m missing you” recently? There are people who’ll come and go in your life. You’ll think you miss them. But when it comes down it, you’re not really missing them. Perhaps, you need to focus on something else or it’s the simple fact that, you use the phrase too loosely.

As you get older it holds much more meaning. Sometimes, I miss seeing my best friend. But we’re always there for each other at the other end of the phone (when she remembers to reply) if not in person. I’ll tell my brothers I miss them and I often wonder if they miss me too. That’s just two examples but there are going to be two main focuses in this blog post. I share a memory of telling someone I miss them and I talk about those I miss every day.

The “I miss you” text message

Three words – ones which don’t mean a lot to some people. However, this ‘I miss you’ was so much more. I told someone I missed them in a texted message and I got them thinking I’d messaged the wrong person. Oh they were wrong. This was definitely meant for them. That night, I miss you opened up a whole new door. Or maybe the door was already open, they’d probably say it was. But I just took forever to see it. It led to one of the longest heart-to-hearts I’ve ever had with this person, and if anything, ever. I let go of all of my insecurities for one moment after letting tears stream down my face, and felt something.

I spent too long chasing other things and this sudden moment made me realise who I really was and what I was really feeling. I was falling in love. A feeling entered my mind and heart that made me feel like no one else was but us. Since this day, we’ve shared conquered a lot of challenges together, taken many adventures, and we’re even more in love with each other.

So now today, I dream of the day where we have our own home. So I won’t have to have those days when I miss him. He’s the person I need when times are the hardest and he’s also the person I have to share all of the best times with. When you feel this, it’s amazing, isn’t it?!

The “I miss you” letters I wrote to my grandparents

I still have these letters along with a lot of things that remind me of granny and grandad. Whenever I see a star in the sky, I see them loving over us. I’ve thought it ever since granny was the first one out of the two to fly into heaven, when I was 7-years-old. Night after night I had to see that same star shining in the sky until I could sleep and go to bed. It was becoming a thing I’d still do if someone was babysitting me. Then I realised that maybe I could look outside my bedroom window. Granny and grandad were two of the most heart-warming people. You don’t need me to tell you that, memories are precious. But I will say that these two people shown me how important it is to live for each moment of each day.

I think when you look at an old photograph or a piece of something that reminds you of someone and it can still cause tears to roll down your face, you know it still hurts that they’re gone. It one thing that I know won’t ever stop. But that’s okay because it means they’ll always be in my heart. I imagine they’re still me sometimes so that I’m still sharing everything with them. Granny saw very closely, the girl I used to be. And grandad saw the little girl turning into a teenager. Wishing they could see me as the young woman I am today won’t bring them back. So every day, whether it’s out loud or in my head, I let them know that I miss them.

Who was the last person you said, “I miss you” to?

snowman ornament under a Christmas tree

The Meaning of Christmas to Me

Christmas, a time for everyone to be merry and feel festive, right? The meaning of Christmas might bring back a sad memory for some but whatever you do this year, I hope you get to spend it with the ones you love. That’s exactly what I intend to do. There are people I miss so much throughout the year and especially at Christmas. I always look back to my childhood and see my face light up when I see them. It’s those kind of things that you hold close to your heart that makes you want to enjoy the Christmas season even more.

Another year goes by but you don’t forget the precious memories

Last year I told you why I was excited for December. Baby John was happily welcomed into the world, I was nominated in the lifestyle category of the public vote for the UK Blog Awards, I had my first experience of being a television runner, and I couldn’t wait for Christmas.

This year has flown by. I feel like I’ve said that for the past few years now. But 2017, seriously, where on earth did you go? I started the year off still knowing that I wanted something more, something better for me. Similar to last year, I’m looking forward to the Christmas break and I made it to the nominated stage of the UK Blog Awards again. Yay! I know nothing will happen from here but it’s still great to see what I’ve achieved.

As a child I would dream of hearing those jingle bells. I would eventually close my eyes and wish the night away. Waking up and waking mum and dad up to go downstairs never felt so magical. One year there was massive Crayola board. Wow I was so happy.

Then another year, there was a purple bike – a proper ‘I’m growing up’ kind of bike. Granny and grandad would put little Christmas stickers all over our presents (the actual presents, not just the wrapping paper). I’ve got a DVD here, which is one of the ones I had converted from a cassette tape. It’s got us all singing, obviously I sound terrible, and the relationship between me and my brothers hasn’t changed. The main thing you can see, is the look on our faces, true happiness. All just happy to have each other.

Let’s make this Christmas just as special

That’s what I want Christmas to be about every year. There always seems to be some kind of stress. Who’s hosting? Who’s making Christmas dinner? Rushing around to here and there. Nope. I don’t want to see that. I want to spend Christmas doing exactly what I should be doing. Being grateful to have all of those people who are in my life. Each and every one for their own reasons. But to live not only for ourselves, but our loved ones who are no longer with us in person.

We spend so much time throughout the year with unnecessary worry, some necessary, but what matters is, having each other.

Why can’t we all just live our lives in the way that makes us happy?

Some people choose to have a new year’s resolution. Maybe mine needs to be to live life more my own way without worrying about what people think. I’ve definitely improved though I’d say. I’ve definitely grown and seen a stronger side to me that stands tall (if that counts for a 5ft, 3 inches and something!)

Christmas is a time to smile, be grateful for who and what you have, and to celebrate that we’re all here today. This Christmas, let’s enjoy the festive songs, laugh, enjoy the food, and have a wonderful day, just as it should be. Put everything aside just for this one day and really take in what it’s about.

Everyone’s got their own meaning of Christmas – what’s yours?

teddy sat alone on bed

Baby Loss Awareness Week

Parenthood is a dream for some, while it isn’t always expected for others. Whatever your situation, the nerves and excitement eventually kick in during the pregnancy stage. Amid all the morning sickness and other side effects that is. But isn’t all that worth it to know you’re bringing a new life into the world? As scary of a feeling I imagine it to be, I hope to bring my own children into the world one day.

Seeing a child come into this world is extra special to me. Whenever I’ve seen new life come into the world, from someone who I’m close to, I love to capture that very moment. It’s a brand new life being welcomed into the world. Tiny feet, tiny hands, that little button nose. What a beautiful moment.

Baby loss affecting the people close to me

Then a part of me feels something else. I think about all of the people close to me who have lost children. There are several kinds of pregnancy loss. All can be as heart-breaking as the other. That’s why, if I’m lucky enough to have children in the future, I will take that moment and hold it close to my heart forever. I’ll precious each and every moment.

As a little girl, I was oblivious to the fact that my mum had more than one miscarriage and also lost her little girl. My mum only ever very openly spoke to me about Nicola last year. Things had been mentioned previously but never with such descriptive and emotional detail. That’s something which torn my mum to pieces in the process, but she knows that it would be so valuable to baby loss awareness stories.

There’s a photo of Nicola in our house. But we don’t look at it a lot. It never gets any easier for my mum and dad to see. It takes them back to the very day it all happened. That one photo takes my mum on a flood of emotional downfalls. We never forget 9 December. I always try to do something small but special on that day. And every day, I just want to be the ‘little miracle’ that mum and dad always wished for.

“Our little miracle” they said

I can’t even imagine how mum and dad felt when I was coming into the world three months early. First they didn’t even think it was possible to conceive a girl again, and then something else happens. Someone out there obviously wanted to give my mum and dad the little girl they’ve always wanted earlier than expected. And it was all worth it when they could finally hold me. In that moment, the bleeping heart monitors, portholes, and breathing tubes disappeared. The moment froze in time.

You’re not alone

To anyone who’s grieving right now, there’s always someone out there to talk to. You need to know that. You don’t have to be alone. Take a look at Tommy’s website. I received a tremendous amount of support from a lady at Tommy’s named Devina when fundraising for the charity. Their overall resources available, as well their commitment to helping others during these heart-breaking experiences is absolutely amazing.

Raising awareness of baby loss is something I will always want to do. And I hope to complete more awareness and fundraising activities in the future.

The silence definitely needs to be broken on this topic.