Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Billy Ayre Tribute Night

Hello everybody. Apologies for the lack of blogs recently... I started my new job in July and to be perfectly honest, I have completely forgotten about my blog! I have been so busy. However, I'm in work now (on my lunch hour, not skiving!) and I just realised it is three weeks until my Dad's tribute night in Blackpool, so I thought I'd write a few words about it for those of you who haven't heard about it...

I was contacted a few months ago by Glenn Bowley, asking if I would be interested in a tribute night dedicated to my Dad, held at Blackpool FC. Of course I said yes -- with it being the ten year anniversary of his passing earlier this year, I thought a tribute night would be an ideal end to what has been quite a sad year. 2012 has been bittersweet. I have been contacted by Blackpool fans more and supported more this year than I ever have been, and although I am eternally grateful for this, it is also heartbreaking to think that ten years have passed since I last saw my best friend. However, I think bringing our family, friends and our extended family (aka our Tangerine Family) together on Friday 5th October will be an excellent evening, dedicated to a very special man. I don't have to explain how special he was to our family, everybody already knows. Knowing that he is still loved and missed by the Blackpool FC fans means so much.

I have spoken to Glenn a few times over the past few months, and the more he has told me about the tribute night, the more excited I am! There are going to be so many people there who knew my Dad, I cannot wait to talk to everyone and hear their stories and favourite memories. Also, listening to people talk about my Dad's career and achievements makes me so proud, and I know the tribute night is going to be based around his time at Blackpool FC. Of course I am also looking forward to the painting being revealed -- I have no idea what it is going to look like, Glenn has been very secretive! And I'm looking forward to the hotpot and apple pie. Obviously. I'm a girl who likes her food.

More than anything, I can't wait for everyone to be together in celebration and memory of the one person who changed my life forever. I haven't spoken to my friends or many fans about who is and isn't coming, because I'd rather not know - I would rather turn up on the night and be excited to see all the familiar faces. The main thing is knowing my Dad's family will be there. My cousin and his wife (my Dad's newphew) are flying over from Amsterdam where they live especially for the Billy Ayre Tribute Night. My other cousins are travelling down from Newcastle with their partners, along with my Dad's brother, my favourite Uncle! And it doesn't stop there. My brother will be there, my Mum will be there, my Godfather will be there... the list goes on. My extended family are travelling from all over the country, as well as outside the UK - and it means the world to each and every one of us that people are buying tickets to come and celebrate my Dad's life and career at Blackpool.

Thank you to everybody who has already bought their tickets, it's going to be a brilliant evening! And for those of you who still need to buy them, what are you waiting for? :) 


Thank you one last time to everybody for your continued love and support. The Ayre family look forward to meeting you all at Blackpool FC on Friday 5th October at 7.30pm!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Billy Ayre's Tangerine Army

The past few days have been surreal. With Monday being the 10 year anniversary of my Dad passing away, I received countless messages on Facebook and Twitter from Blackpool fans who were offering their love and support. Later on in the day I started to receive messages asking if I was going to the match on Tuesday night, so I Tweeted, "I want to go to the match tomorrow night! Can you buy tickets on the door??? #BillyAyresTangerineArmy" to which I received more replies that I could have imagined. People offering to pay for tickets for me, people offering me their season tickets, people ringing the club to ask if there were tickets left... I couldn't believe it. I was then contacted by somebody who provided me with the Club Secretary's phone number, who eventually provided me with two tickets in the East Stand. Dave Booth and Matt Williams, I can't thank you enough.

When I arrived at Bloomfield Road yesterday, the atmosphere was incredible. I have been to many football matches in my life, but the Blackpool fans are in a league of their own when it comes to dedication and loyalty to their team. Although I had received a few hundred messages on Twitter from people saying they were going to sing "Billy Ayre's Tangerine Army", part of me didn't think it would happen, simply because there was nearly 15,000 people in the stadium. However, as soon as the 10th minute arrived, every single Blackpool fan rose to their feet to sing at the top of their lungs, "BILLY AYRE'S TANGERINE ARMY!" and I closed my eyes for a couple of seconds just to listen to you all. It was surreal. And then of course, I joined in, and I am pretty sure I have done some serious damage to my vocal cords. Just to top it off, when my Dad's picture appeared on the screen with the words "Billy Ayre - Gone, But Never Forgotten" my heart stopped. The entire experience was heart warming and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I am not exaggerating when I say it was by far the best moment of my life to date. Never have I been so proud to be the daughter of King Billy Ayre.

To top off the evening, Blackpool beat Leeds 1-0. I am so glad I was there to witness not only Blackpool winning on the 10 year anniversary, but also to listen to everybody singing my Dad's name. It made me realise how lucky I am. People lose somebody they love every day. It's not very often that ten years after their loved one has died, they can listen to thousands of people singing their name. If I could thank each and every one of you individually, believe me, I would. I would also like to thank the hundreds of people who have written to me on Twitter, you are all my Tangerine Family.

I speak on behalf of my entire family when I say thank you to all the Blackpool fans who have continued to show their love and support since my Dad passed away. Your dedication is what keeps his name alive. To every person who has contacted us, written on the Message Boards, recorded podcasts, and read my blogs -- thank you.

#BillyAyresTangerineArmy #TangerineFamily

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Daddy or Chips? Daddy. Every time.

Daddy or Chips? Daddy. Every time.

For those of you who know me quite well, you will know that this coming Monday, 16th April 2012, will be the 10 year anniversary of my Dad passing away. I have wanted to write a blog post about him for quite some time now but didn't really know how to go about it. I was also quite reluctant to write anything too personal in case my family thought I was writing things only we know about, and the last thing I want to do is upset anybody. However, some of the things which seem quite personal in fact show what kind of a person he was, which is what I want everybody to know. Only a select few of my friends knew him, because he passed away when I was twelve years old, and I wish they'd known him as well as I had. Finally, it occurred to me to write what I know, because that's the advice given to writers, isn't it? Write what you know. So here's what I know about my Dad.

He was the best Dad in the world. I know everybody says that about their Dad, but seriously, I can't put into words what he was like as a Father. I always say, "My Dad was my best friend" and I mean it. I told him absolutely everything, and followed him around like a lost puppy. He was my idol, and still is to this day. He always saw the best in everybody, and liked to befriend people who were quite quiet or shy, to try and give them a bit of confidence. He was outgoing, charismatic and absolutely hilarious. More than anything, he had the most positive attitude I've ever come across in a person. For those of you reading this who knew him, you will completely understand what I mean when I am trying to describe him. I honestly don't have a bad word to say about him. Whenever anybody in my family tells me I look like him, or that I remind them of him, I feel honoured, because if I am anything like my Dad I know I'm doing alright.

One thing that stands out in my memory about what kind of a person he was is when he was quite ill. We went to visit him in Clatterbridge Hospital, and sadly discovered that he had lost the use of his legs, and was paralysed from the ribs down due to his cancer becoming so aggressive. I can remember so vividly being sat next to my brother in complete shock. We were heartbroken for him. The first thing that popped into my mind was "What about football?", because he was such a football fanatic, not to mention it being his career. My heart broke even more when he began to cry. He apologised. He apologised that he wouldn't be able to go running with us anymore, or on bike rides, or drive us to school. He apologised for what had happened to his body, and despite his suffering, he was thinking about his children and what he wouldn't be able to do for them anymore. To this day, that memory breaks my heart into a thousand pieces. He was unbelievably selfless. 

To think that I have lived the past ten years without him absolutely baffles me. A decade has passed where I have gone through high school, taken my GCSE's, taken my A Levels, passed my driving test, turned 18, gone to university, met the love of my life, turned 21, and so many other things I know he would have loved to have seen. It breaks my heart to think that my brother has been so successful, graduating from university, then graduating with a Masters, and most recently leaving home and moving to Oxford for a new job, and he couldn't share any of these moments with our Dad. David, please know that Dad would have been proud of you. Everything you have accomplished and how you live your life would have made him unspeakably proud.  I feel selfish when I think I wish my Dad could be here in the future for when I get married and when I have children and other special events, mainly because there are millions of people on this Earth who have suffered far worse than I have, and in much worse circumstances. I know I have a wonderful life, and I really can't complain about not having what I want because I have a lot more than most people do. But as time goes on, and people move on with their lives, it has become apparent to me that I don't get used to the fact that my Dad isn't here, and I don't miss him less. Every day he isn't here, I miss him a little bit more. I often find myself watching this video on repeat, just to hear his voice.

For those of you reading this blog, please don't think I feel sorry for myself. I really don't. I feel sorry for my Dad, because he was so young when he passed away, and he had so much to live for. It upsets me when people complain about their parents, because you shouldn't take them for granted. One thing I never do is take anybody for granted, and through the loss of my Dad I have realised how important it is to stay close to people who mean a lot to you, and tell them you love them as often as possible. 

My Dad is probably reading this and thinking, "Oh stop moaning man!" and he's right. I shouldn't complain, but given that it is his 10 year anniversary on Monday, and I have been thinking about him constantly, I thought it might do me good to write something down. My Auntie Moira says that anniversaries don't matter because we miss him every day regardless, and she's right. I just cannot believe that an entire decade has passed, when I still feel like I saw him yesterday. I hope that feeling never goes away.

I only knew my Dad for twelve years, but that was enough time to make an amazing impact on my life. I hope that I live my life in a way that my Dad would have been proud of. I also hope that one day, if I have children, they look at me the way I looked at my Dad. Complete and utter adoration. Most of all I hope I see him again one day. I don't know if there is a heaven, but I am convinced there is definitely some form of afterlife. If there wasn't, that would mean I would never see my Dad again, and to me that just isn't even an option. I don't hope I see him again, I KNOW I will see him again. Hopefully it'll be in about 60 years, but that's fine. Just knowing that I will see him again one day is what makes every day of my life just a little bit easier.

I miss you Daddy, and I hope you can read this, wherever you are. I will love you forever. See you at the far post. Rachel x

Monday, 19 March 2012

My New Style Icon: Iris Apfel

Until last year, I had only ever really had two "style icons", and they were none other than Sarah Jessica Parker and Zooey Deschanel. Due to being somewhat obsessed with Sex and the City, and even more so with Carrie Bradshaw, I became hooked on what SJP was wearing and where it was from and what she was into. In addition to this, I adored Zooey's individuality and confidence to wear what she felt was feminine and beautiful as opposed to outlandishly sexy. Don't get me wrong, I still love SJP and Zooey, but my new obsession is pretty much in an entire league of her own.

Let me introduce you to 90 year old Iris Apfel.

Unlike most people, the first thing I notice about Iris is her unbelievably beautiful clothes, and her outstanding individual style. The second thing I notice is her signature glasses (not many people could pull off those glasses, but my God does she rock them well.) In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of New York showed an exhibition of her wardrobe, entitled Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel. Believe me, I would have given my left leg to be there, but wasn't even aware of the exhibition until a couple of years later. (One of the most talked about pieces shown was a Jean-Louis Scherrer coat made of duck, rooster and fowl feathers from 1962.) After the exhibition, that was it - Iris was a fully fledged New York socialite, attending every fashion show, sitting on the front row, with people begging her for photographs, autographs and style tips.

Despite having a relatively quiet life before the age of 83, Iris is now busier than she ever was in her youth. Iris and her husband Carl Apfel started the textile firm "Old World Weavers" in 1950, two years after they got married, and it ran until 1992 when they both retired. Throughout her life, it seems, Iris has had two constant loves - Carl, and fashion.


In recent years Iris' fame has gone through the roof, with MAC launching an entire range of cosmetics dedicated to her, which I can only imagine is due to her exquisite taste in lip colour.

Not only does she have her own MAC range, but Jimmy Choo also recently named a mini range "IRIS" after none other than our favourite pensioner. The high heeled shoe in the range (there is also a flat version of the shoe, and a fringed bag) is embellished and somewhat tribal, much like a lot of Iris' own accessories. Although they may be a little high for Iris to wear herself, they certainly compliment and represent her style.

The main thing which made me fall head-over-six-inch-heels for Iris was her untouched individuality. Everything this lady wears is so beautiful, and yet so alternative, I don't even know where to start with the compliments. To date there is nothing I have seen her wear which made me think, "Oh dear Iris.." because no matter what, she can pull her outfit off and make it look effortless.

Having a style icon is not all about what they wear and wanting to wear an identical outfit. It is about the admiration for their confidence in dressing like an individual and knowing what suits their body, and even more so, their personality. I love the fact that after almost an entire lifetime of dressing in an eccentric and flamboyant way simply because she loves fashion, Iris has become famous, developed a fan base and started an entire career out of her personal style - and she takes it all in her stride. One of my favourite quotes about Iris Apfel came from Roberta Smith who is an art critic for the New York Times. She wrote, "before multiculturalism was a word, Mrs Apfel was wearing it."

I would now like you all to watch the following two minute video, which I think is the perfect conclusion to my Iris Apfel blog. Never have I seen a 90 year old lady who is so cool. That is the only word I can think of to describe her - cool. And her 'New Yawk' accent is music to my ears.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Blue Eyes

A poem I wrote when I was a teenager, about my hero, my Daddy.

"Blue Eyes"
by Rachel Elizabeth Ayre

When I was young, my eyes were blue
They smiled and sparkled just like you
But recently, my eyes are grey
It's ever since you went away
From time to time, they shine light blue
And people say I look like you
If you were here, they'd shine so bright
And I would always sleep at night
As life goes on, I fall apart
A piece of soul, a piece of heart
These pieces fall and go astray
Please catch them when they float away
I sit alone and think of you
And all in life that you went through
Yet through it all, your eyes would shine
Please put the sparkle back in mine
My eyes can't smile, they only frown
My heart won't make the faintest sound
It beats when it has to, my heart won't strive
It only keeps going to keep me alive
One day in the future, my eyes will be blue
They'll smile and sparkle when I'm with you
My eyes will light up and I'll feel no pain
Just promise you'll never leave me again.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Daydream Believer

For as long as I can remember I have been a daydreamer. I often get very carried away with my thoughts, particularly when I'm on my own and especially when I'm driving, and before you know it I have completely forgotten where I am and what I'm doing. I know this sounds extremely unsafe, but believe me, I am that used to it that my subconscious keeps me alive. 

I can't say I daydream about one thing in particular, but one recurring theme recently seems to be living somewhere new. I daydream about living in a bright, open, airy apartment in Barcelona, drinking peppermint tea, reading a newspaper and leaving the windows open to make the heat more bearable. I also daydream about living in New York, in a sky-rise apartment overlooking Manhattan, drinking coffee, walking through central park and living my dream career as a photographer. Most recently I have been daydreaming about living in Paris, visiting the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower, going to countless fashion shows and writing down every experience I have.

However, lately I have found myself feeling somewhat guilty about my daydreaming. In these daydreams I am living in a completely different country and leading a completely different lifestyle. If, in my daydreams, I am aspiring to live my life in Barcelona or New York or Paris, does that mean I am unhappy with my life as it is? Well, the answer is no, I can assure you. Does daydreaming about a different lifestyle mean I am unhappy with where my career is heading? Perhaps. Yet surely this is selfish, as so many people across the world would give anything to be where I am now. The truth is, I don't have the job I want, or live somewhere glamorous, or have a lot of money. I have two part-time jobs, living my life day by day to see what I can and cannot afford. But shouldn't I be looking at the bigger picture?

I have TWO jobs. Not one, but two. So many people these days can't even find one job and I am complaining about not having the career I want. Secondly, I have an amazing boyfriend, wonderful friends and a family which I wouldn't change for the world. Thirdly, I am young. One of my greatest fears is suddenly being 80 years old and having countless regrets. So far, I have nothing I regret about my life, and any mistakes I have made I have certainly learnt a lot from. Not to forget I have my health, which so many people do not.

What I am trying to say is, be happy with what you have. There is absolutely nothing wrong with daydreaming about a better life, or wanting more for yourself, or wishing you had more money, or aspiring to live somewhere new. However if you do want these things, don't let it erase your view of what you have right now. If you are having a hard time, remember to appreciate and concentrate on the good things in your life, because there is always someone worse off than you. Across the world are people who have to walk miles each day just for a drink of clean water, and single mothers with six children who worry about buying food and paying bills, and cancer patients who have no family left to comfort them. These are the kind of situations I like to think about in my head when I start to feel like my life is going nowhere. My life is beautiful. If I were to look from the outside in on my life, I would think, "That girl is incredibly lucky." And as long as I have my loved ones, honestly, there is nothing more I could ask for. It doesn't get any better than that.

And I know it's not Barcelona, or New York, or Paris... but where I live isn't bad at all, really.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

All Hail Zooey D!

I decided to write a blog about Zooey Deschanel because, well, as you are all probably aware by now, she is just plain amazing. I don't want this to be a big "OMGILUVUZOOEY" embarrassing blog, although that would probably be the easiest way to put it, because I bloody adore her. I have been a huge fan of hers for a number of years now, and wanted to explain why, as a lot of people have only just started to notice who she is since "New Girl" began airing on Channel 4 in January 2012. (I don't think I am alone in saying that Friday nights are now entirely dedicated to watching New Girl.)

Not many of you will know, but Zooey isn't just an actress - she is also an extremely talented singer. I think the first time I ever heard Zooey sing was in the film "Elf", and the first thing that popped into my mind was "She has such a lovely singing voice...". Not long afterwards, I read on the internet that Zooey was in fact in a band called "She and Him" with M. Ward. It didn't take long before I was absolutely obsessed with She and Him, and to date I have both albums, Volume I and Volume II, on my iPod. Not to mention their delightful Christmas album which was released in October 2011. I will always remember Christmas 2011 as the year David and I decorated our Christmas tree whilst listening to "A Very She and Him Christmas".

For those of you who haven't listened to She & Him before, here are a few of my favourites:

I think it is Zooey's beautiful, vintage sounding voice which makes me love their music so much. Every song I listen to sounds like something from decades ago, yet with a modern twist, and I love that. No-one sounds like She & Him and perhaps that's why they have never gone mainstream, but I'm sure they don't care. As long as they keep making music which makes me happy in any possible situation (seriously, try it! It works!) I will continue buy their music for as long as they release new material. 

Not only do I love her singing, but the characters Zooey has played in films have made me admire her even more, simply because you can tell that each character is slightly like the real-life Zooey. For example, her hilarious role as Alison in "Yes Man" made me think, "I bet she really IS that fun and free-spirited." Her role as Summer in "(500) Days of Summer" made me think "I bet she really IS that quirky and spontaneous." Not to mention her role as Jess in "New Girl", which made me (and the rest of the world) think "I bet she really IS that hilarious!"

One of the main things I love about Zooey is her style. She never tries to look like anybody else, or follow trends, or look overly sexy. She just wears what she wants to wear because she likes it, and as a result looks effortlessly stylish. She is one of the few actresses who I admire because she comes across as the kind of girl who you could be friends with. Just a down-to-earth, normal girl, who wears cute clothes, has lovely hair and never tries too hard. One thing I dislike about celebrities is when they play it safe with clothes and are too scared to wear something they absolutely adore, just in case they end up on the "Worst Dressed" list. Zooey Deschanel is not one of those celebrities.  If she likes something, she will wear it - and in my opinion, she always looks incredible. 

And there it is. My explanation for why I love Zooey Deschanel. Not only is she an actress, singer and producer (Zooey is a Producer for "New Girl" -- just something else to add to her CV!) she is also growing to be a global style icon. Despite her fame only coming to light over the past few years, I predict this is just the beginning for Zooey. I look forward to seeing what happens with New Girl, She and Him, and not to mention her fashion choices in the future. In the mean time, I will just carry on following her every move on Twitter, and continue to ask God why he didn't give me big, piercing blue eyes like Zooey Deschanel.

All hail Zooey D!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

I'm a Virgin.

Calm down people. I'm not an actual virgin. (Sorry Mum.) I'm a BLOG virgin. Goodness me I am excited. For years I have read a number of blogs, and never actually written my own. Well here I go. Losing my virginity at the grand old age of 22.

I finally decided to go ahead and create a blog when my friends Roy and Rachel persuaded me to do so. After showing me a number of blogs they enjoy reading on a regular basis (some of which I am now also reading on a regular basis) I thought, "I could do that! Mine probably won't be as funny... or as interesting... but I could do that!"

My friend Rachel's blog (go ahead and enjoy it, it's far better than mine will ever be: http://life-with-coffee-spoons.blogspot.com/) also got me thinking about what I would like my blog to be called, how I would like it to look, and also how I would like it to be perceived. Well, first of all, I have always loved writing, and that is mainly what this blog will be based on - writing about anything and everything. Of course it will contain other visually delicious treats for you all such as the odd video or photograph, but the basis of this blog is going to be writing. I say that now, but for the past few minutes I have been writing ABOUT writing, so maybe I'm not as good at this as I originally thought. 

Secondly, I have been considering a number of names for my blog over the past few days and believe me, had some absolutely incredible ideas ('Rachel's Blog' was the number one contender for about fifteen minutes) and eventually decided on "I'm Smarter Than You Think". This is simply taken from one of my favourite quotes:

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.” 
― A.A. Milne

Yes my favourite quote is from Winnie the Pooh. Got something to say about that? Yes? YES? No?! Didn't think so. 

I thought that name would be appropriate for my blog, as throughout my life (I know what you're all thinking: "Oh bloody hell, here she goes...") I have always had a slight suspicion that people believe I am somewhat unintelligent. Yes, I received nine average grades in my GCSEs. Yes, I received three (slightly below) average grades in my A Levels. And don't even ask what I got in my degree because I won't tell you. But the point is that I HAVE A DEGREE. However, in my opinion, qualifications don't mean that much unless they are absolutely outstanding achievements which, admittedly, mine were not. Despite this, I have always felt that my intellect has been underestimated by numerous members of my family and even a few of my friends. 

Thirdly, I thought "Shall I write a blog about my life? Or about tea and coffee? Or about the lack of jobs for young people in the UK? Or about fashion? Or about music? Or about photography? Or about relationships? Or about books? Or about movies? Or about losing people we love? Or about sport?...." and as you can guess, the list in my head went on and on and ON... until I realised I could just write about ALL OF THESE THINGS. Truthfully, one thing I have never done before (seriously...NEVER.) is share my writing with my friends and family. Yes, I have had the odd poem published in the past (my poems are published in books which I have buried in the deep dark depths of my childhood bedroom) and yes, I have updated my Facebook status countless times and Tweeted 4,618 times to date. But apart from that, my writing has never actually gone public before. And here we are.

Admittedly, I am slightly mortified that my first blog is about the fact that I am writing my first blog. Although I am somewhat impressed with myself for extending this subject further than four sentences. I am also finding it rather ironic now that my blog is named "I'm Smarter Than You Think". Congratulations if you have even read this far. I promise the next one will be better.