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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The cost of coeliac disease

There were lots of things I was completely ignorant to when it came to coeliac disease. My best friend has been diagnosed with it for about 10 years now but I still had no idea about the cross-contamination side of things until Charlotte was diagnosed.

Did you know that even a crumb of normal bread can actually harm someone with coeliac disease? This isn’t just an intolerance where you might get a bit bloated, gluten actually kills part of a sufferers intestines so that it can no longer absorb vital nutrients. 

Because of this it is suggested that you should change a number of things which you may never be able to say is completely gluten free. So the literal cost of coeliac disease for us so far is…

1 toaster £25

3 baking trays £7.50

3 chopping boards £5

2 non-stick frying pans £25

4 plastic spatulas £8

3 mixing bowls £14

Officially I shouldn’t use a dishwasher which has previously washed glutenend items but unfortunately my budget doesn’t stretch to a brand new dishwasher quite yet, although I am thinking its a very good excuse to bring my ‘new kitchen’ project forward a bit!

Carefully chosen gluten free picnic courteousy of M&S

This doesn’t even take into account the fact that gluten free products are SO much more expensive to buy that the gluten filled alternatives. Bread which tastes similar to normal bread can have a mark up of at least £2 more than your average white sliced loaf. 

Luckily, in most of the UK, diagnosed sufferers can get some items on prescription, however, this is a minefield and we’re currently trying out every option available to find out what is edible and what is definitely not! 

There is talk of the prescriptions being scrapped, especially adult ones and if they’re not scrapping them, they’re making the list of things you can have shorter by the day. Thankfully Warwickshire seems to be holding on to most items for now but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. 

Obviously the biggest cost is Charlotte’s health and this is the reason I am happy to pay for all these items…now just to work on friends, family, restaurants and schools to make sure they’re as precious about her health as I am. 

Healthy kid!

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! 

Sun, sea and the single mum.

Our daughters are playing together and I attempt a smile but apparently you don’t see me. 
We are sitting close to one another at dinner whilst I sit on my own for the fifth night in a row so our daughters can eat in the kids section but apparently you don’t see me. 
Our children are dancing together at the pretty awful evening entertainment but other than a smile and nod there’s nothing more that’s said.
Being a single mum on holiday seems to be like having the plague, in that if ‘our kind’ is conversed with for too long any ‘non-single mums’ will be infected and suddenly be left holding their two beautiful children all alone. The dads, of course, can’t talk to a single mum because we’re definitely trying to get out talons in any man that walks by so best to stay away. 
The receptionists obviously thought a lesbian couple would be staying with them as we have different surnames on our passports and therefore on our booking. The restaurant tickets say Miss Charlotte and Miss Katie and states that two adults will be eating with them. 


The housekeepers don’t know what to do with us and leave extra towels in case there is another person hiding somewhere in the closet and the bartenders presume I’m ordering two of what ever drink I ask for as I couldn’t possibly be drinking alone! (There are perks!!) 
The 19 year olds running the kids club ask me every time if I want to add another signature on the card so ‘someone else’ can pick Charlotte up. Unless Pablo the pool boy (who’s quite good looking) is offering, I haven’t had anyone else ask to pick my daughter up! Each time I say ‘nope, it’s just me’ and walk away with a lump in my throat and trying to think of a way to kill an hour and a half whilst Charlotte plays what’s the time mr wolf with 10 other pre-schoolers. I even contemplated the gym and even dressed to go, only to find the treadmill and cross trainer were broken and decid that weights were not for me. 

So, despite the fact that I thought I was brave enough to attempt a holiday just the two of us, it would seem my skin is not quite as thick as I would want it to be for this. It has been hard work more than it has been relaxing and both Charlotte and I have lost our tempers on more than one occasion. The sun has been good though and there have been intermittent moments that have made us smile and that I will treasure forever. 
Maybe I’ll try Devon next year though, slightly cheaper and easier to get home if it all goes pear shaped! Or maybe I’ll set up a single parents holiday company with babysitters, networking type events so everyone can get to know each other and plenty of activities that both parent and child can participate in. Oh, and a strong wifi signal throughout!! 


NB. I met the elusive single mum…on the flight on the way home…sitting right next to me! Thank you to the brave mum from Tamworth for ending my holiday perfectly. 

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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I am not Superwoman

Well, its official, my mind is a mess, my body is a mess, my house is a mess and my parenting style is a mess.  I have been working long hours for a hellish project and it has taken its toll on every part of me. This week I’ve cried in the office over a very small thing, I’ve cried at home over big and small things. I’ve had a very poorly tummy (I will say no more on that right now), I’ve stared at my massive washing up pile every evening for the past four days but have not yet washed it up and I’m being a shit mum as all I want to do is come home and veg on the sofa when Charlotte wants me to play and we have eaten crap way too often recently (thank goodness nursery gives her real food).  

 I am apparently part time and have the salary that goes with it, yet I have also worked more than full time hours over the past few weeks and have been logging on at home in the evenings just to get stuff done.  This is not a recipe for a happy, well-balanced life is it?

 So I’m thinking about going to the doctors to be signed off for a bit after long and teary discussions with lots of my friends because I’m not sure I can do it anymore. But something is stopping me and I can’t quite figure out what.  Pride, maybe. Stubbornness, maybe.  Conscientiousness, maybe. Worried about the stigma, maybe.  But I think it’s mainly down to the fact that, even though I know it’s utter bullshit, somewhere inside of me still seems to think I should be fucking Superwoman!!  This fictional character who is able to deal with all areas of life effectively, all the time.  Whose house is spotless. Whose children don’t have tantrums and do eat broccoli. Whose nails are perfectly manicured at all times and who can still hold down a full time job and keep up with the high stresses in her job.  Single mum or not Superwoman has her shit together

superwoman Well being Superwoman and ‘having it all’ seems like a quick way into an early grave, so, as one of my friends said, I need to choose my priorities.  Surprisingly work comes nowhere near the top of this list so I need to make sure it’s not at the top of my stress list either. 

 I feel a revelation coming on. #iamnotsuperwoman

 

 

BuzzFeed made me do it.

buzzfeedI love those BuzzFeed lists. Especially the ones where it mentions somewhere local to you or a place you’ve been, or things you remember in the 90’s…and their quizzes (that I never share the answers to because they’re too true and my parents are on Facebook) and their videos about how to create a perfect fishtail plait (still not perfected it).  But I have found that checking your Facebook feed at 11.30pm on a Sunday and clicking on a BuzzFeed list, when you should really be in bed asleep, is not a good plan.

10 Gorgeous Bras.

Ooo, I thought, I love a gorgeous bra. Click.

  1. Nice
  2. Nice (if you have no boobs)
  3. Nice if you don’t have to wear anything over it
  4. Nice (if you have no boobs)
  5. Nice (if you are a size zero and have no boobs)
  6. Nice
  7. Ooo, really nice…’You can get this from Ann Summers’…click, damn it- didn’t mean to click that link…
  8. Ooo more nice bras…
  9. Ooo a sale…
  10. A sale that is only on for another 30 mins!!
  11. ‘Type in your bra size’…type, type, click,
  12. Ooo bras in my size!! (doesn’t often happen)
  13. Ooo, I like that one
  14. Ooo they have matching knickers
  15. Ooo, they’re in the sale
  16. Ooo, Add to basket, click, click…
  17. Well I might as well have a look at the rest of what they have on offer…
  18. Ooo, Add to basket, click
  19. Ooo, Add to basket, click…
  20. Checkout, ah well I don’t have my card on me so never…
  21. Ooo pay by PayPal, enter password, click, click, confirm order, click.

And that, my friends is why you should not read BuzzFeed posts late at night and, why I had to go and collect a large parcel from my new neighbours this evening which, not so subtly, said it was from GOLD GROUP HOUSE and to send any returns to AS Ltd.

 

 

 

It just sucks.

Nothing sucks more than being a single mum with a job and a poorly child.

Oh but wait, it sucks even more when you’re battling an evil cold yourself and you have deadlines looming for some pretty high profile work.

It sucks even more that you are run down as hell because you’ve been running yourself ragged for work for the past six months and not stopped.

It sucks even more that you have to choose between looking after your poorly child who just wants mummy cuddles or dropping her off with grandma so you can get to work and try and get some things crossed off the very long to do list.

It sucks that I changed to being a part-time working mum in the hope it would give me a better work-life balance, but it’s just ended up with me being paid less for trying to cram the same amount of work (maybe even more!) into four days rather than five.

It sucks that I constantly feel at least one step behind at work and one (or ten or twenty) steps behind at home.

So, in summary, being a working mum sucks.

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Goodbye 2015

As is a custom on this day each year I wish you all a happy new year and wonder where the bloody hell 2015 went??  I am also picking up my keyboard, blowing the dust off and posting something on my blog, which hasn’t happened for some time!  I guess I just got fed up of always posting depressing reads and longed for the day I could post something positive that I wouldn’t have to take back a week later because my judgement of a situation maybe wasn’t quite the real deal.

But after an exhausting few months at work, various health scares and hospital visits for both myself and my friends and family I just didn’t feel like picking up the pen to fill you lovely people on yet another crappy moment of my life so I went quiet. But I did miss posting…and reading comments from my lovely readers lots.

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Just a little round up of the festive season. 

 

Taking a glance back to my last New Years post, I actually have done lots of the things I said I would for which I’m very proud!  I have got a new job and even a promotion at that!  I finally moved house and, I (with help from my miracle worker/sleep consultant) even sorted out Charlottes sleep, meaning I had more me time and a happier daughter too!  I’m not sure I’ve yet learned what I should do with that time but that’s part of my goal for this year.

So on to 2016 and this time around my main goal is to say “no” more. 

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My new mantra…

I am a people pleaser.  I am well aware of it and it’s a family trait. I like making other people happy, I like volunteering for things, and I like to keep busy.  I get a warm and schmushy feeling when I help out but I have begun to find that being this person all the time is actually detrimental to my health and wellbeing.  I book myself up to keep busy and help others and then moan because I don’t have enough time to keep on top of the day to day things that would help me live a calmer life. So, for once, I’m going to be selfish. Not in a’selfish bitch’ way but I’m going to come first for a while and look after me. (OK, let’s be honest, I’m always going to be second to Charlotte but that would be a major improvement!)

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing my blog and I’m hoping that I haven’t lost all my readers and I can pick up the pen and keep you posted.

Please let me know what your goals are for the year in the comments below and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break.

We’re in…finally!!

IMG_4180.JPGI’m finally in my house. There has been blood, sweat and tears (literally) to get it to a live-able and sleep-able state but with help from som wonderful friends and mainly my parents I’m sitting in the living room, watching tv in my pjs whilst the dog sleeps next to me and Charlotte sleeps in her bright pink room upstairs.

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There’s still lots to be done and lots of boxes to unpack and things to find places for but, for now, I’m just going to focus on the fact that we’re actually in and it definitely feels like our home.

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More pics to come as the project develops.