From festivals to social media, we're spending more time with our friends. A growing number of us enjoy a close group of mates that we consider to be a surrogate family: a friendship-family or 'Framily'. In some cases, this is taking over from where the traditional family unit may have left off: either in distance, as people move away from home, or emotionally.
You'd think a book would be the least dangerous thing you could send to your friend who's just begun their summer holiday. Nothing could be much safer, it might seem, than relaxing on a deckchair, in a peaceful garden or hotel poolside terrace, with a book and a cool drink. But this is Northern Ireland, and when we send parcels, we have to risk assess.
For decades I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere. As far back as I can remember, it was difficult to "fit in". My mother was always saying "Why can't you be more like this person or that person?" I wondered that, too. I tried as hard as I could but somehow, it just didn't quite work. I didn't think like other people. And I was often misunderstood.
Coming out as trans to my friends and family was both the easiest and the hardest thing I have ever faced. I had touched upon the subject with two friends in a light hearted manner to see what their reaction would be a few months prior to 'coming out' but I was not ready to fully engage with them the depths of how I felt or how serious I truly was...