10 reasons why having a messy car is a good thing.

A few weeks ago Charlotte and I went on a trip down to Devon to visit some friends. She said she had a tummy ache the night before but, unfortunately, because of her Coeliac Disease this can be a common occurrence so I have to say I kissed her goodnight and hoped it would go away by the morning.

 

It didn’t, she woke saying she was feeling sick, but, yet again I dismissed it especially as she ate a tub of yoghurt! So I gave her some calpol and packed her in the car along with our luggage.

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It started so well…

25 miles from home on a bypass with no lay-bys she began complaining of feeling sick again so I just said we’d stop for some food soon and she was probably hungry. Turns out she wasn’t hungry, she was actually sick and proceeded to vomit over herself and my car.

 

After driving another 4 miles before finding a lay-by, I pulled in and ran around to her side of the car. It was a massacre, she’d covered everything so I looked around for anything that could help me and, because I’m a lazy, messy mum and my car is an outpost of my kitchen, bathroom cabinet, wardrobe and toy cupboard combined I found everything I needed.

 

Multi suface cleaner wipes for the chair and car seat. Check.

 

Half a bottle of water for Charlotte to wash her mouth out with. Check.

 

Tesco carrier bag to put all contaminated items in. Check.

 

Change of clothes for her. Check.

 

Raincoat for me as it was also pissing it down. Check.

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My ingenious homemade sick bucket…craft bloggers will be quaking in their boots! 
This life event made me realise that actually a messy car isn’t so bad.  Yes, it can be embarrassing when you get tricked into having to give a non-parent a lift somewhere but I also came up with 10 reasons it’s actually essential that your car is messy.

 

  1. You will always have baby wipes somewhere in the car. This can clean sticky fingers, sticky faces, sticky dashboards, sticky steering wheels (hey, I’m not one to judge!)
  2. You can fashion a miniature sick bucket for a miniature human being because once bitten, twice shy.
  3. You will always have reading material. That time when you’re stuck on the M5, everyone’s turned their engines off and your phone battery dies. What’s better than Biff and Chips ‘Sit me up’ or an old cereal box that was an art project from nursery.
  4. You will also always have something to eat. Granted it may have been on the floor under the seat for an undetermined amount of time but, if it ever gets to the point where you’re contemplating a Bear Grylls type survival technique, fear not. That half pack of Wotsits will keep you alive for at least another half hour.
  5. You will always have a coat. It may not be for the right season or go with what you’re wearing but it’s another layer so stop whinging.
  6. Your child will also have a spare set of clothes should you need them. Maybe a ‘hold on, we’re just near the services’ accident, or a ‘just take a little sip and then put the lid back on’ accident…whichever you will definitely be able to change them. Ok, the tights might be a bit small but no one will know under the Tangled fancy dress outfit.
  7. And speaking of fancy dress outfits you will never be caught short at nursery’s Pirates and Princesses days that you heard nothing about until that morning. That blunt eyeliner rolling around your footwell is perfect to draw a couple of scars and an eyepatch! Voila!
  8. About to send your car for an MOT and realise you don’t have any windscreen wash? Rather than being charged £5 for them to fill it up for you so it passes just empty all the half drunk bottles of Evian into the water tank in the lay-by before you get to the garage (and then use a baby wipe to clean your hands).
  9. If you can’t stand to hear ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ one more time then have a feel down the side of your seat and you will definitely be able to find a CBeebies CD or a Greatest Hits of Bonnie Tyler CD there. Pick whichever will make your ears bleed least.
  10. Hair not quite sitting the way you want this morning? Dig down the back of the passenger seat and there will definitely be two Peppa Pig hair clips and, if you’re lucky, a headband with fluorescent pigtails protruding from the top. New look, sorted.

 

You’re welcome people!

Have I missed anything off? Let me know what you have found in your footwell recently in the comments below!

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The perils of being a working mum. 

Today I left the house in my usual work attire. I’ve given up on trousers and skirts and dresses are the choice at the moment. 

At 9.15 however, I realised, as I nonchalantly ran my hands down my legs, that I had one horrendously hairy leg and one beautifully smooth leg! 

Granted this has meant I’ve had a warmer leg due to the Baltic conditions of works air con blasting out, but this is definitely one of the perils of being a working mum. No time to do any one job properly. 

Let me take you back…

A couple of months ago I bought an epilator. I’d heard good things about them, I’d also heard bad things about them but thought – ‘I’ve had a child, the pain can’t be that bad’. Oh how wrong I was!!

If you have never heard of an epilator or tried it it is a torture implement that I have voluntarily purchased. However, now I have spent a significant amount of money on it the Yorkshire genes in me insist I get use from it. 

Whoever invented the epilator either has an abnormally numb body or is actually the devil. 

To cut a long story short I started my second attempt at using it last night in the hope it would be less painful and quicker. I had been assured this would be the case.

Despite the gin and tonic I had consumed that evening and the ibuprofen I’d taken because of my headache (a great mix I know!) it still felt like somebody was plucking each of my hairs from my body slowly with minute tweezers…oh wait…

After completing one leg I got up to have a breather and wipe the tears away and promptly stubbed my toe, shouted ‘fuck this shit’ and watched another new episode of Orange is the New Black whilst holding an ice pack to my swollen toe. 

So this is how I now have one gorilla leg and one as smooth as a baby’s bum. But in order to get a matching pair I have to go through the whole ordeal again on the other leg and I’m not quite ready for that yet so this evening I’m still Tarzan on one leg and Jane on the other. 

I will sort it before Monday though…hopefully. 

Tipping the scales.

What a difference a year makes. The cardigan can only hide so much!

I’ve joined Weight Watchers…again. I know, I know, I said I’d never do it, but the scales had ticked over to my dreaded number and I had to take action. 

It was the number that makes me say “No more”. 

The number that makes me say “Katie, what the hell are you playing at?”. 

The number that makes me run to the nearest Weight Watchers meeting to declare allegiance to the points system and swear never to eat peanut butter again. 

So back I am, handing money over to a not particularly slim woman to tell me how much I weigh on her scales, which seem to be completely different to those I have at home. 

Talk about a way to boost self esteem on a Wednesday lunch time. 

Back I go to trying really hard until about 3pm when my brain says “but chocolate would taste soooo good right now”. 

Back I go, four weeks in wondering whether I should just stay the slightly frumpy size I am because being on a diet is, let’s face it, boring and hard. 

I must admit though I’m having some difficulty with getting into the swing of it this time. 

I have realised since my last stint, thanks to the joy of articles posted on Facebook (that’s how everyone does their research right??) that most fat isn’t actually bad for you and low fat products are probably worse.  

I’ve realised that ‘diet’ drinks generally contain some rubbish sweeteners which, let’s face it, aren’t great for you and don’t taste good. (The research on how bad they actually are for you differs greatly however). 

I’ve realised that I have no time for cooking lovely meals when I get home because if I don’t get Charlotte in bed by 7.15 bedtime is fucked until about 11pm and I’m ready to kill. 

I’ve also realised that trying to loose weight on a diet whilst also trying to get my head around a gluten free diet is pretty impossible. 

I’ve also realised (although I did know this before) that cooking for one is utterly shit and generally ends in loads of food waste, a fairly dull meal and usually a way too late dinner time so I don’t enjoy it anyway. 

So I have to find away to get through the next two months (it was a three month pass) and lose weight without following the plan at all. Easy huh!

The reason for this particular blog post with added awful photos is so I have some accountability, other than lying to the woman who asks me how my weeks been every week. 
I will get back to feeling happy and healthy in my own skin and now is the time to do it…just maybe not how the slimming clubs would want me to do it. 

Still not perfect but way less lumps and bumps than now!

Can it be done? Share your hints and tips in the comments please! You’re all in the circle of trust now  (mines quite a round circle at the mo!), I need your help! 

30 things I’ve learnt since being 30.

It was my birthday last week and I’m now the ripe old age of 32.  A huge amount seems to have happened over these past two years, some of which is documented on this very blog as I started writing just after my 30th birthday.  I feel like I have learnt a lot, sometimes the hard way and some I have just happened upon through pure fluke so I’ve jotted them down to remind me.  Some are a bit deep, others entirely the opposite but all are true to me.

  1. Having children doesn’t mean you must cut your hair shorter. I for one look awful with shorter hair.
  2. I can, pretty much, make it through any challenging situation…just.
  3. You only live once. A cliché but a damn true one so make the most of it!
  4. Your health matters, so pay attention to it.
  5. Experimenting is a good idea in all areas of your life…food, fashion, f…(you get the idea).
  6. Making a mistake is not the end of the world.
  7. Tell your real friends you love them.
  8. Unfollow or unfriend people off Facebook or Instagram whose posts irritate you.
  9. I still don’t like goats cheese no matter how many times I try it.
  10. If I stop moving I seize up and it’s a lot more difficult to get going again.
  11. You will meet amazing friends in the strangest places if you are willing and open to find them.
  12. I wear my heart on my sleeve which can sometimes means it gets bruised more easily..
  13. Earl Grey tea is actually very nice.
  14. My wardrobe now has less clothes that are better quality, rather than the other way around.
  15. Same with my make up.
  16. Bright lipstick isn’t actually that scary.
  17. Sometimes I would rather eat an amazing salad that something deep fried.
  18. Saying ‘No’ and standing your ground is amazingly empowering.
  19. You are allowed to aspire to be in a job which you love…goals are good.
  20. Dresses actually suit me much better than trousers.
  21. Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing.
  22. Doing something good for someone (even if very small) is one of the best ways to boost your mood.
  23. I now ‘mum dance’ but I still do it anyway.
  24. All parents are winging it.  They are lying if they tell you other wise.
  25. Despite all my body hang ups people still seem to find me attractive, therefore I shouldn’t worry about them so much.
  26. I’m now much less tolerant of just smiling and nodding.
  27. My eyes are my best feature. (Sorry boobs)
  28. Netflix is definitely worth the membership fee.
  29. Being a single mum means my daughter is my best friend and my enemy number 1 all at the same time.
  30. Being a single mum is incredibly hard work but incredibly rewarding.

Barefaced

I never thought of myself as a ‘make up’ person.  I just wear mascara because as a ginger/blond-ish person I generally look half asleep if I don’t. I wear some sort of base just so that my rosy cheeks don’t make me look like I’ve been on the wine all day (I promise I haven’t!) and so it covers some of the dark circles under my eyes, but that is usually it. I was also briefly an Avon rep but had to give it up as I was spending all/more of my earnings on the very same make up I was supposed to be selling, but I definitely wasn’t a ‘make-up’ person…or so I thought.

However, a couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night before going to the theatre with a friend, I lost my make-up bag.

 It was my own fault for a) trying to apply make-up whilst walking, b) having a small bag which was, as usual bursting at the seams and c) not being remotely aware of the world around me and, in my defence it was the end of a stressful week. I’d just finished work after a 9-hour day and I was knackered and somehow between the carpark and the restaurant I was meeting my friend at, I lost my make-up bag…with all my make up in it.

And I cried.

I’ll just go back to the bit about my stressful day and week for justification but that seemed like an overreaction to losing some make up, even to me!  But it wasn’t just some, it was all of it.

I’d lost my beloved Bare Minerals brush which made applying foundation or BB cream quick and easy, meaning I could do my make up in the 3 minutes from when I drove into the work carpark and when I actually exited the car to go into work. 

I’d lost my blusher which made me look a bit more alive on a cold day. 

I’d lost my bronzer which led me to believe (even for just a brief second) that I do actually tan when I go on holiday (I don’t).

I lost my eyeliner which I had just about got the hang of applying and made me look slightly more grown up and sophisticated – well I thought anyway and,

I had lost my Cath Kidston make-up bag which my brother and sister-in-law got me for my first birthday after splitting with my ex and when everything was, pretty much, falling down around my ears.

So I sat in the car and I cried…and then I realised I couldn’t fix my face because I had no make-up, so I cried a bit more.

So apparently I am a make-up person.

I also hadn’t realised how expensive the stuff is! Generally, you don’t buy your make up all in one go.  You slowly build a collection, working out what brands, colours, textures you like, spending time and effort culturing this collection that will help you face the day. £5 here, £7 there.  So having to walk into Superdrug on a Sunday and purchase everything in one go was a bit of an overwhelming situation for both myself and my wallet.  I forgot what skin tone I had, I forgot how some mascaras just irritate my contact lenses and I look like a panda by lunchtime. I forgot that, unless its fool proof, I’m going to fuck it up and unless its quick I’m not going to use it. But after what seemed like hours hovering over all the make-up stands (so much so the ‘security’ had started to loiter close to me) I put all the novelty items back. I gave up trying to fit everything in with the myriad of BOGOF, 2for1 and spend ‘£20 get a free contouring set’ deals and gathered together a selection of, what I think, are fool proof items to start my new collection, and do you know what?  I don’t think I’ve done too badly.

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Free period.

There has been a lot of talk recently about feminine hygiene products and the tax which the government put upon them many, many years ago because, as all ladies obviously know, they’re apparently a luxury product!!
 

my local celeb
 
 Russell Howard Good News Tampon Tax
Russell Howard put it well this week on Good News and I love him for it (my claim to fame is that I paid for petrol next to him as he’s a local celeb…may have got more excited than necessary!).

This is seriously one of the most moronic taxes out there (there are quite a few to choose from granted) and it just shows that the majority of MPs are men because it recently was debated in the House of Commons and STILL was not changed! It’s not bad enough we also have to spend money on new knickers because we have, yet again, not changed at the right time or got caught out. It’s not bad enough that we have to buy our weight in biscuits, carbs and chocolate. It’s not bad enough we should all be given shares out in Neurofen as a right of passage but hey, we’ll pay 20% extra on the products that are specifically designed to help deal with a monthly thing us woman CAN NOT help. 

Some women are protesting by not wearing any form of sanitary product (even that term sounds outdated) but despite my loathing of paying VAT on what I would class as definitely essential items, I would not put anyone through having to see my ‘Texas chainsaw massacre’ debacle for 5 to 7 days every month. It’s bad enough they have to put up with my mood swings, my period clothes (we all have them don’t we??), my spotty face and my hot water bottle if they’re lucky.  

 
So I shall sign the petition and look into moon cups until we finally see sense and have a woman Prime Minister or, at the very least, a female health secretary who could decide to give them out free like they do with contraceptives. Lord knows, we couldn’t do any worse than Jeremy Hunt!!

A beautiful day.

September is a crazy month and always has been. It got a bit crazier when I split with my ex a couple of years ago too but last weekend it got crazy in the best way possible. My BFF got married…and it was bloody wonderful!!!

Yes, there were stresses before (let’s not even mention the dress and how many times it was picked apart and put back together again). Yes, there was the obligatory argument between the bride and groom the night before the wedding over something that wasn’t that awful but could have hypothetically ruined the entire day and yes, there were aching legs the night before after preparing the castle (yes, you heard right) for the big day. I bet medieval women had buns of steel with all those cobbles and spiral staircases to go up and down!  

the boys looking industrious
 
But when Saturday came, a calm descended and everything was just beautiful. The bride looked more than beautiful, the groom looked beautiful in his blue suit, the castle looked beautiful with the sun shining on it on, what can only be described as a perfect autumnal day. Charlotte was a flower girl and wore most of what she was meant to and I was bridesmaid in a gorgeous teal gown with hair and make up done by a miracle worker/hair and make up artist.  

feeling pretty , scuse the sneak peek of a bra!
 
Yes, Charlotte had a couple of meltdowns during the day but apparently everyone ignored those and said she was well behaved. Yes, I spilt something down my dress but that was after the photos so it was fine-ish. Yes, there were times when I felt lonely and like the only single person there (I wasn’t – quite) but it also reminded me just how much I believe in marriage and that, just because my first didn’t work out, doesn’t automatically mean that if there were to be a second, that would fail too. 

It also reminded me just how much I love my best friend and how much I miss her now we don’t live close. Four days in her company felt like a lifetime and both of us were sad to say goodbye. She shouldn’t have been as she was oFf on her mini-moon! I was heading back home to finally pack up my flat and put up curtain poles as its my moving in weekend next! Eeek!

     
So to Rachel and Chris, your wedding was a fairytale for all of us and I look forward to being part of your happy ever after. Xxx  

Girls night out.

On Friday night I went out out with some friends from work. It was organised a while back with a group of about six girls. I’d missed out on leaving drinks for my previous job and we’d had other leavers and birthdays since then so I asked the babysitters (my parents) if they would have Charlotte and they said yes. All sorted. Let the party begin!

However, as time got closer and two girls bailed I realised I would be going out with two twenty two year olds and a twenty five year old. All who are hot and slim and hair is perfectly quaffed. They’ve also perfected that pout in all their Instagram poses which I cannot do without it looking comedy.

I started panicking. What the hell was I going to wear? I didn’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb but I also knew that my ‘jeans and a floaty top’ combo would not cut it this time.

Queue panic mode. The only info I had was that one was wearing a backless play suit and another, a dress. I tried not to snigger at the idea of me in a backless play suit and tried to get serious so left work early to rush down to the nearest Outfit and buy the trendiest thing I could find. I realised very quickly that a crop top and shorts would not be the way forward however, so turned around and walked out.

I had planned to have the evening to sort myself out but, as they always do, plans changed and I had to pick up Charlotte from nursery, entertain her and try and get ready all at the same time. Easy peasy of course. I missed random bits of my leg whilst shaving, I have never applied fake tan so quickly, my hair dried into a fluffball despite all normal products being used and I still didn’t know what to wear. I stopped counting the amount of times my skinny jeans came on and off but I decided on a dress in the end. I say decided, I mean my friend was waiting outside to pick me up whilst I was wearing it so I had no choice.

I did my make up in the car and realised I had forgotten my mascara. The one item my face can not live without.  I felt old, my tan was somewhat haphazard, my hair was poofing at a rate of knots and now I would look like I was half asleep as well.
 

The end of the night
 Whilst out I got skipped over being ID’d twice (both times all my friends did), I realised I knew the words to songs the rest of my group had never heard before, I ordered a single measure of gin despite doubles being only a few pence extra and I wanted to dance when apparently it was not cool to do so.

Things I learnt through the night were;

  • that Coventry is a pretty crap night out
  • despite not looking ‘old’, I definitely do not look young
  • drinking out of volcanoes is never a good idea
  • and dance music and strobe lights is not my idea of good music to dance to. 
    The aforementioned volcano – who knows what was in there!
      
    Us pretending we’re enjoying the said beverage.
     

So at 1.30am I took my poorly feet and bottle of water home and hoped for at least a lie in the next morning…

I didn’t get one – damn you body clock!!

I quit. 

  It has now been six months since I last had a cigarette. To some it will be a shock that I ever smoked, to some the fact that I only smoked 4-5 cigarettes a day and could take days off if I wanted or needed to, meant that I probably wasn’t a ‘real smoker’ in the first place but since my uni years I have turned to cigarettes (and wine) when I was stressed or bored and that pretty much describes lots of being a single, working full time mum and going through a divorce. 

I have had many breaks from smoking or turning it into only ‘socially’ smoking but I have realised that I never properly gave it up. 

It was my fall back and in my situation it did the job for a bit. I couldn’t drink copious amounts just in case something happened with Charlotte and I would never forgive myself if I couldn’t drive her to the hospital if that’s what she needed. My appetite diminished when I first split with my ex so my stomach wouldn’t allow chocolate to be my main vice, so smoking seemed like the only thing that could help me at that time.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad. I met some new friends from sneaking out to the smoking area at work (read: the windiest corner of the office grounds) and it was a good excuse to leave my desk and escape my horrible job but, just before Christmas last year I decided I wasn’t going to do it anymore. My clothes smelt, I was getting sore throats much more than usual, it was ridiculously expensive and, to be honest, it was bloody cold having to stand outside in the middle of winter! 

But it felt different this time. I don’t walk past smokers and yearn for one more drag. I don’t feel the need to have one because my friends are and, because I feel much better and healthier it’s not something I want to go back to. I also want to be a role model for my daughter and don’t want her to catch me in the act or always wonder why I smelt funny after coming in from outside.

I have still been through some damn stressful moments in the past six months and some damn boring ones too but I haven’t found the closest newsagents available and I am quite proud of myself for that. 

Watch this space for 12 months!