Sayonara 2016, welcome 2017.


Happy new year everyone. I hope you had a good one last night, whatever that may mean. 

Despite being childfree, I spent the evening at my best friends house and drank absolutely nothing. I got back home just as Big Ben chimed on the car radio so went inside, put my pyjamas on and went to bed.

But all of it was exactly how I wanted to ‘celebrate’ at that moment. This week, let alone this year, has been emotionally draining for so many reasons so being with my best mate and having an ‘early’ night was perfect for me this year. 

Way better than strappy high heels!

Like everyone else, 2016 has been pretty shitty.

Personally I’ve been in pain for 6 months or so with gallbladder trouble, I’ve been messed around by more men than I can count, work has been awful and has not got better.

I also went on a stressful holiday to Lanzarote which was the least relaxing holiday ever. My flat sale fell through three goddamn times.

Charlotte was diagnosed with coeliac disease in April which created so much overwhelm for me I went into a bit of a decline and along with all the rest of the world’s goings on it could seem like a bad year but… 

On the plus side, I went on an amazing holiday to Portugal with my friends, I was also lucky enough to go to France with friends in October who also had had a new baby early in the year. 

I had my gallbladder removed fairly swiftly (for the NHS) and I’m on the mend, I’ve also lost a few lbs because I can’t eat very much! I’ve also worked out how to make my hair look awesome (post to come on this shortly!). I had a perfect week with Charlotte before she started school. Charlotte actually started school and is thriving, which is a joy to watch and we’ve just about got the hang of her diet with support from school and all of our friends and family who have been on a steep learning curve like me. 

Oh and the two big ones, of course, I got divorced and I have a boyfriend. The latter has not been without its stresses (the former hasn’t either)  because he’s also had a really difficult past few months but hopefully this is something we can both work through. I’ve had a lovely weekend away with him which was perfectly timed when we both needed to escape from norm. 

My own #bestnineof2016

So, looking forward, I’m optimistic that there will be lots of positives in 2017 and I will be able to cope with the negatives whenever they arise. I am starting a bullet journal (for the third time), and have just started the KonMari method of decluttering to organise myself better and life *is* going to be easier this year. 

Last year my main goal was to say ‘no’ more and I think I’ve done well but still need to work on this…along with my 10 other new goals for this year! 

What are your goals this year? Let me know in the comments and here’s to a fantastic, fulfilling 2017! 

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In every end, there is a new beginning. 

Just the two of us

This is officially the full extent of my crazy little family now because…drum roll please…

I am finally, officially, a divorced woman!! 

I know this can be a sad moment for some people but considering I first met my solicitor to get this show on the road on my wedding anniversary in 2014 – 6 months after me and my ex had actually separated – it has been a loooong time coming. 

I have waded through lawyer speak, lawyer bills, my first solicitor going on maternity leave (her little boy is now 18 months old and she’s pregnant again), an ex who insisted on not responding to any sort of correspondence without being chased (more bills from my solicitor), a flat sale that couldn’t go ahead without a financial agreement and a court that decided not to actually let my solicitors know when they’d finally crossed the last t and dotted the last I. 

It’s been a journey and a stressful one at that but it’s done. I am an official single woman again with her official maiden name back. I feel light, happy, elated with a tiny tinge of sadness but we’ll gloss over that bit. 

So now is the time to organise the divorce party or as my best friend called it ‘the Phoenix party’ because I am rising from the ashes and I’ve come back more beautiful (glimmers of happiness can do that to you) and a hell of a lot more strong. 

Left standing

Last week I got stood up.

Not in the old school way.  I wasn’t left standing awkwardly in a pub on my own. But I was stood up in the ‘millennial’ way. I was blocked on WhatsApp. I hate myself for even uttering those words but, 15 minutes before I was meant to meet up with this guy, I was blocked. The only reason I knew this before getting out of the house and being stood up for real was because I was running late – as always. I normally hate that I am always late for things but, in this particular instance, it saved me a lot of public embarrassment.

I was still embarrassed by it though. I had chatted to this guy for over a week. We had had daily conversations about life, the universe and everything. He seemed like a genuinely decent guy and I will admit it, I had a bit of a flutter. He was good looking, he was a full participant in a range of topics of conversation, he usually messaged first which I took to be a good sign. We seemed to have stuff in common and we made each other laugh, or so I thought.

I had told my friends I was going on this date, my mum had been booked to babysit, i’d done my hair and make up (and looked pretty good if I do say so myself) and then it didn’t happen. I was upset, angry, confused but also completely mortified.

I have no idea why, in the last few moments he decided he didn’t want to meet me.  I’m not going to make excuses for him as I have done for other men. He is a coward and a dick but it didn’t hurt any less even though I knew this.

I hadn’t been on a date for a while because I was fed up of knobs (literally and figuratively), I was fed up of being let down and I was fed up of wasting my time and I managed to have it happen all over again.  Unfortunately it doesn’t hurt any less the more it happens.

After yet another bad experience I did wonder if I should just give up on the prospect of a healthy, happy relationship with a bloke all together but, after attending a well-timed mindfulness workshop in London I realised that there is no point in dwelling on the ‘whys’ and the ‘what ifs’ of the date, of my love life or my life in general, it will only hurt me further  stop me focusing in the important things.  I should only be concentrating on what is happening now, as this is the only time I have any control over. So I think I shall make the most of the here and now and see what comes along whilst I’m getting on with it.

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The Single Mum’s 29 (ish)-Day Challenge

Whilst wasting time passing some time on Pinterest I came upon an infographic entitled ‘The Single Girls 30-Day Challenge’.  Now, I am single girl (…lets not mention that the rest of my divorce still hasn’t gone through yet…) but not many of the challenges seemed particularly realistic so I tweaked a few and ended up with this, much more do-able, 30-day challenge.  But as its the 1st February and I’ve crossed a couple off it can be my 29 (ish) day challenge.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

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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  

Summer break

IMG_3724.JPGWell it would seem I had my six week summer holiday from blogging earlier than the kids have from school! I thought if I didn’t write now I may never get round to it so here’s just a little post getting me back in the game.

There’s been many reasons for the break…I finally got the keys to my new house but it’s taken a while to get there, work has been ridiculously crazy and Charlotte has been a bit of a handful and I am currently writing this is the children’s ward of our local hospital as she’s had a horrible tummy bug. My love life’s been a hot mess to be honest and I just wasn’t feeling the writing or more to the point I didn’t know what to say about which thing when, which pretty much summed up my head space.

Anyway, a new chapter full of good things (we’ve just this minute been discharged as tests have come back ok) so hopefully you’ll rejoin me back on the journey.

Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments below!

13 pieces of valuable advice for dealing with a divorce 

After discussing my experience of dealing with a divorce with so many friends. Some who had been through a similar situation , some who were currently thinking about getting a divorce or some who just knew someone going through a divorce, I thought I should write down my top pieces of advice.   

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and everyones situation’s are different, but here’s my ‘wise words’ about divorce, for both the person going through it and how you can be an amazing friend at that crap time.
13 Pieces Of Advice For Dealing With Divorce

If you’re going through the divorce…


1. It will definitely cost more than you think and more than the solicitors tell you. 

2. All the things you think you’ll be able to sort amicably between yourselves, in order to save money may not happen. Divorces take time, and time can change how people feel about one another, so don’t rely on how you feel now – and how you think your ex feels about you – staying the same.

3. Ask questions, so you completely understand everything. My solicitor sent me letters just full of lawyer speak and some of it went straight over my head so I emailed her with a list of questions and she usually rang me back to discuss.

4. Check all letters and forms that the solicitor writes/fills in for you before they send them out. I found that invariably there’s something wrong with it. One time it was my actual name! 

5. Try not to discuss the ins and outs of the divorce with too many people. Everyone will have their own opinion on what you’re entitled to, how much money you should get and what should happen, especially if they’re close to you.  But only do what you feel is fair and will make you happiest.

6. Sometimes taking the high road is really, really hard…but it pays off. It’s also much easier for you to move forward with your life if you’re not the one wallowing or feeling bitter.

7. Try and make the most of your time alone. Start doing things you stopped doing or start doing things you always wanted to do. DON’T FEEL GUILTY if you don’t miss your children all of the time when they are with your ex.

8. Also, try not to fill up ALL of your child free time with tasks and appointments and seeing people. Use the time for some RnR because you need it and you deserve it. Children can be hard work, especially with all the change happening, so just treasure the quiet times and bank it for when you’re ready your patience is being fully tested. 


And as a friend, pretty please…



1. Invite her to do things on the weekends.  This is family time I know, but it can also be the hardest time for single parents as they don’t want to intrude, so invite them all to the BBQ or just to the park for half an hour so they can get out of the house with the kids. 

2. Offer her time out, away from the kids. She may work or be a SAHM but once the kids are all tucked up the evenings can be lonely – take her out, babysit for her so she can go out or just bring a bottle of something and a dvd. She will be grateful for the company.

3. Try not to slag off her ex (unless she does). She may have mixed feelings about whether she’s done the right thing or they may have just spent many years together and it can still hurt hearing that person being bad mouthed. 

4. Notice the changes and if they’re good changes encourage them. This sounds a bit patronising, I know. She probably wants to change her hair style or start a hobby or lose weight but she may be feeling a bit battered and bruised and lacking in confidence. Knowing someone else thinks it a good idea or worth a try maybe that little extra nudge she needs to finally do it. 

5. Say the word “Divorce“. Don’t say “the D word”, don’t spell it out like the Dolly Parton song and you really don’t have to say it in hushed tones either.  If you whisper it, it makes it sound like we’ve done something wrong or shameful.  We all know it’s not an ideal scenario obviously but it’s not something we should feel ashamed of.   I swear the word ‘DIVORCE‘ is more taboo than the C word!!


Divorce Cake
…and when its all over you should definitely get her a cake!

One of the phrases that pisses a single parent off.

When I’m lamenting my ex and the time we were together lots of people say ‘but you wouldn’t be without Charlotte, would you?’ This is the phrase that has come to piss me off most since becoming a single parent and after catching up with another single mum it’s not just me it would seem.

Of course, I love my daughter with all my heart and now she’s in my life I can’t bear to think of her not being in it but…I never wanted her to grow up in this family set up. I never wanted her to only see her dad every other weekend. I never wanted to make decisions based around money and surviving rather than what is in her best interest. I never wanted to think about how on earth I’d introduce her to someone new in my life and I never wanted to have a different surname to her.

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if I knew (which, truthfully, looking back, I probably should have had some inkling) that my ex and I would split when our baby was two, I’m not sure I would have chosen to have a child at that particular moment.

No, I don’t think the split has scarred her for life and I think she’s adjusted amazingly well to the life of a child from a broken home, but it saddens me greatly that the first two years of her life were filled with depression, tears, anger, frustration and guilt. Guilt being the only emotion I felt at her because I didn’t feel like I was being the best mother I could be, or the mother I wanted to be at that time and the person I expected to support me couldn’t or wouldn’t either. I just hope I’m now making up for lost time.

I always wanted children. When I was younger I never remember being excessively career focused because I wanted to be a mummy. Because of this, I know it’s probably my fault for pushing for a baby when my ex wasn’t ready (if he ever would have been). But in fairy tales once you get married you have a baby and I was living in a land of fiction thinking everything would be ok. If I’d stopped to look then I’d have realised we were not emotionally strong enough as a couple for it even before she came along.

So no, I don’t regret having my daughter because I get to watch her grow up and become an amazing girl and woman and some of my best memories with her probably wouldn’t have happened if things had been different. And no, I wouldn’t be without her. If somebody tried to take her away from me I’d unleash all hell but, would I choose to put a child, as well as myself through the past 18 pretty shitty months and all the time before the split? Would I choose to put a child through going back and forth from mummy’s to daddy’s house, having to hear conversations between mummy and daddy when they’re desperately trying to not shout at each other and having to listen to mummy cry because she just can’t hold it in anymore. Nope, I’m not sure I would.

The weekly round up

Lordy Lordy this week has thrown me some curve balls!! I apologise for the lack of posting this week, I managed to start three posts and not complete any of them – high fives all round for finishing ability!

As you know – mainly because I’ve been whinging about it for the past three months – this week was my first full time week at work and Charlotte’s first full time week at nursery and I was dreading it. My zen/calmness that Jennie had helped me so much with went out the window and my brain just stopped working! On Wednesday I started to panic that I wouldn’t be able to cope, I hadn’t even done the extra day yet! I posted in mummy forums asking how the hell anyone else coped, I started looking at cleaning ladies even though I know for a fact my budget won’t stretch to that and I started to trawl every job sites the off chance I’d be able to pick up a better job that paid more money immediately so I didn’t have to finish the week!

Melodramatic? Me? Never?

Turns out, despite Charlotte waking at 4.30am on Friday morning and declaring she was hungry and wouldn’t go back to sleep until she’d eaten two rounds of toast…Friday wasn’t all that bad. It was even, dare I say it…fun? Just the fact that it was casual Friday made a difference, the fact it was quiet enough so I could actually get work done was good and I also decided to instigate dressing up for Red Nose Day next week so there was even some laughing and smiling going on round the team. Something seriously frowned upon for the rest of the week.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all sunshine and light. I heard some sad news on Tuesday about my sister in law to be’s grandma, we had mega meltdowns after nursery on at least three occasions. We had Charlotte’s dad randomly offering to pick her up from nursery on Thursday and take her out to dinner and entirely messing up bedtime. I thought I’d be able to get my food shopping done so popped home to grab some bags and my vouchers and they turned up! Queue meltdown and lots of “Mummy don’t go’s” and I’m dragging myself out the door leaving my ex with Charlotte in my house shouting instructions about food in the freezer. Not ideal but that was how desperate we were for milk and bread and I also didn’t want to be in the same room as him for any longer than absolutely necessary. I came back an hour later and she was asleep on the sofa and he was watching Top Gear. Had she eaten, no. Had she had a bath or at the very least been charged into her pjs, no. Fuming was an understatement. I had, so far, had three nights of her sleeping through from 7.30pm ish to 7am and I knew, just knew, that she’d now wake up being hungry at a horrible time of the morning. And voila 4.30am it was. And just to top off the week, I managed to have an epic fall on Saturday and sprain my ankle, so now hobbling like an old lady and moving at the same speed as an arthritic snail. No alcohol or skyscraper heels involved either!!

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But, as its end of year review time and you should always start and end with good points (the shit sandwich, I think it’s called) a few other good things that happened in my week:
Charlotte recited her bedtime routine to me. We’ve been working on getting the routine cracked in The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and the fact that she’s aware there is a routine makes me feel like I am actually doing my job properly and the programme is working (although I knew that bit before now)
I ate vaguely healthily all last week – I even took food in for lunch rather than wasting money on the crap food at the canteen. 100 frugal points to me!
I currently have three people who want to take me out on a date. Only problem is I have no time to take them up on their offers!
An old friend got in touch this week and it has been really great caching up, weird but good.
I have now seen my BFF in a variety of wedding dresses and am getting more and more excited!!! Eeek!!!
Two more weeks until my brother gets married and I finally get my sister-in-law!! Double Eeek!! (Although let’s not mention how snug the bridesmaid dress is at the moment!)

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Hope you all have a good week!!

The power of the mind.

IMG_0329.JPGThe sleep programme is now three weeks in and I’m amazed how much difference it has already made. The even better thing is that I don’t feel like I’m actually doing loads different so far. I’m not tied to a strict routine, I have not been told what to do. I know this – dare I say it – Gina Ford approach wouldn’t and doesn’t work for me and Charlotte and I’m so glad I’ve found Jennie who approaches toddlers sleep issues by trying to work out the cause and dealing with that, rather than actually trying to implement any ‘one size fits all’ sleep techniques.

I am also realising that I am open to using alternative remedies and the power of the mind. How my mind is affecting my mood, how my mind is affecting Charlotte’s mood, how Charlotte’s mind is affecting her own sleep and how other people’s moods and minds are affecting both of us.

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I wouldn’t put myself down as a particularly spiritual person…I don’t practice any religion and not sure I believe in a higher being deciding all our moves for us but I do believe in energy and positive thoughts and how much having those can affect your mood and mindset. Despite the huge list of crap that has rained down on me and my family over the past 10 years I have generally been optimistic that things will get better. I’m not sure I believe the old adage ‘things can only get better’ because I have seen evidence that, unless you put in the effort, things just get worse and worse. My ex was (still is) a lifelong pessimist and is still wallowing in a dark depression because he is not willing to put the effort in that’s needed to get better. This was the main reason we split and is still a cause of massive frustration to me as it means he is not playing the role of a dad to the full extent and because he doesn’t or can’t we a need or reason to want to move onwards and upwards, he is stalling signing divorce papers.

Jennie is teaching us techniques to deal with the daily stresses and negativity that both me and Charlotte face on a daily basis so, not only will we both come out of this with a lot better sleep but I honestly believe our relationship with each other will be better and we will have more tools to fight the crap times together. We still have homework, house moves, potential new men on the scene who potentially might have children themselves, school, teenager-hood, boyfriends (or girlfriends), and break ups to go through so we need all the help we can get!!

Hope you all have a great week. This week is my first week back to full time so any good energy you can send my way would be very helpful!!