I get by with a little help from my friends. 

Sometimes when I’m sat alone on a Saturday night I do question whether I have very many friends. Sad and depressing I know, but being a one parent family can sometimes be a quiet and lonely life. The evenings especially so, as you know that that’s when everyone else is having their family time, or couples time, or some lucky buggers are even free to go out in the evening without having to book a babysitter weeks in advance and you’re stuck at home with a sleeping child upstairs.

However, my perspective changed dramatically this weekend, after Charlotte was admitted to hospital and we had to stay in overnight. I now realise more than ever before that I do have many, many friends.

Poorly girl.
With these friends we may not be able to meet up very often, we may have known each other for ever, we may not have actually known each other that long, we may have met because of babies or toddlers, or work or where we live, we may have met through the powers of Facebook, we may not exactly even remember when or how we came to know each other but, that night I had so many offers of genuine help that I could feel this amazing support system around me and, oh my goodness, did I need it right then.

Those who didn’t live close were messaging straight away, checking on me and Charlotte and giving me strength to cope with the situation. Those who were close were offering practical help like phone chargers (life lesson no 1: never go to out of hours with 9% battery), dog walking, popping to the shops for food and drink or a toothbrush or just desperately needed moral support. 

They all had their own stuff going on that evening and they were willing to stop that stuff, even briefly, and help me and that made me feel very honoured.

Luckily we came out of hospital the next day and, despite more tests that still need to be done, lots of things returned quickly to normal. But those 12 hours of hell really made me appreciate those around me and realise that I am really lucky and that I do have my so called ‘village’. 

So, in this season of gratitude, good will and thanksgiving (a bit late I know), I want to thank all my friends, from the bottom of my heart. Because without them I wouldn’t have made it through half the challenges I’ve faced and I’m sure they’ll help me through the next lot too. 

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.

img_0980
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.

img_0982
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!

Out of the rabbit hole. 

Heading towards the light.

So I’ve apparently had some time off. I’m going to blame the summer but it was pretty much down to laziness and, yet again, some mega stress that sent me down a bit of a hole. 

But things have got remarkably better, remarkably quickly which I shall catch you up in due course but this is just me coming into the light and saying ‘I’m back!’. 

Next adventure…Charlotte starts school tomorrow!!! 

Why I love Warwickshire

I’m such a fair weather blogger or maybe the opposite of that. I feel at home posting when everything’s going wrong but the past couple of weeks have been really good and I have realised just how much I love the place I live. 

My house is starting to look how I want it (if you remove the clutter, but let’s be realistic here!). 

My overgrown, but actually quite pretty garden.
I have some beautiful parks close by, perfect to escape with a crazy four year old to burn off some energy. 

New park on Chase Meadow
I have some gorgeous National Trust properties close by, and now I’m a member we have free reign of all of them. 

Charlecote Park and House
My town hosts some amazing events, food festivals, Thai festivals, film festivals, chocolate festivals and next month a chilli festival! 

Warwick Food Festival
I have some amazing independent restaurants, cafes and bars to eat and drink. 

Coffee Architects in Leamington Spa
I have a great network of friends and when I finally get my bum in a gear a great network to support small businesses. 

Networking , training and friends in Warwickshire
We also have one of the largest castles in England which means the town in steeped in history and William Shakespeare resided in a town not far away. 

Bird of Prey display at Mary Arden’s Farm
Sometimes you’re just too busy dashing around to actually notice the things around you and I have recently realised just how lucky I am to live here. I ❤️ Warwickshire. (The tourist board can pay me later)

Just the two of us.

(Due to dodgy wifi this post has a time delay!)

We’re off! I’m being brave and taking Charlotte on a holiday – abroad – just us two 😳I’m not sure how we’re going to cope! We actually spend A LOT of time apart so a solid week of just us can sometimes be taxing. I know that makes me sound like a crap mum but 24/7 child time is exhausting!  Props to all the stay-at-home-mums. You have my utmost respect and admiration. 
I would love to say that we’re going tech free and having some proper 1 on 1 time but we’re only on the plane there and so far she’s on her iPad with headphones on and I’m writing this on my phone. I do have a real book in front of me though promise! 
I think we’ll be OK though. It will be sunny (hopefully), there will be no washing up to do and hopefully there will be at least a couple of gluten free meals a day available. If not, Charlotte will be living on ice-cream and slushies! But I’m really just looking forward to some downtime with my one and only and hope that we come back happier, maybe a little bit healthier and ready to take on our next few challenges. 
Photos to come soon as it won’t let me upload them…note to self: check the availability of wifi before booking next holiday!! 
Happy Monday everyone. 

Freedom.

My ex had Charlotte for five days this week so it was a weird way to start the year, he even had the dog so I had no alarm clock other than my actual alarm clock to wake up to!! No sodden sheets to change from our ‘dry at night’ attempts and complete and utter freedom (apart from having to go to work). No chocolate spread on toast to spread and cut exactly correctly. I could eat what I wanted and, as I had promised to eat better it was lovely to eat all the things Charlotte won’t. Prawns, salmon, steak…huge amounts of vegetables and I even had the chance to make lunches for the next day. It took me about two days to miss her more than the normal amount. Things just didn’t seem right without my little sidekick!
I also had plans of the romantic kind for a couple of nights whilst I had my freedom but, as usual they disappeared along with the romantic interest. I haven’t spoken about dating much as I haven’t really been dating much. Everything else in my life had been so busy and stressful that men just seemed to be adding to this so I swore them off for a bit…and then a blast from the past turned up and I decided to give him another chance. Why, I have no idea. I can only blame the fact that we have history and he had a hold on me so I believed his bullshit yet again…however it was officially the last chance he got. I am so done and this time I felt strong enough and angry rather than upset so I made sure I told him so. I said no. I don’t deserve to be treated like that, so no more. So it was nice to be able to mope for that evening but he definitely won’t be getting any more tears from me. I did, however, get this amazing belated Christmas present from a friend. I couldn’t possibly comment as to whether I had a go or not.* 

Another Tiger store amazing item!
 
I’ve also been waiting for some results back from the hospital as late last year I had an abnormal result from a smear test and had to go in for a colposcopy. This is when someone looks up your lady parts with, what looks like, a pair of binoculars on a stand. They also have a live feed so I was lucky enough to see my cervix up close and personal. Not something many people can say I’m sure. They took a biopsy the week before Christmas and to say it put a dampener on Christmas celebrations was an understatement. I also felt like I’d been punched hard in the vagina for a couple of days which was less than ideal. I had previously been told that what they had found seemed low risk, but I couldn’t help but worry. On Friday I had a letter saying that I didn’t need any further treatment at this time which can only be good thing. I also found out that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month so if you have hidden or ripped up the letter saying you’re due for your smear test please book it and go. It’s such a small amount of your time and could save your life. 

Get your appointment booked!!
 
So a positive and negative which evens out I guess. Let’s see what this week brings! 

*i did.

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!

All shapes and sizes! 

My new job, although in the same office as my last, seems to have a much smarter dress code than before and I was starting to feel a bit of a scruffy arse. I used to be able to rock in in my ‘skinny’ jeans and a smartish top with flats and no one would bat an eyelid but now I am surrounded by suits, ties, smart dresses, cigarette pants and pencil skirts. So, with my new pay cheque I thought I should upgrade my currently very downgrade work wardrobe, however after a demoralising second weekend spent shopping for suitable work trousers, I have come to the conclusion that my bottom half is (at the moment) a size 15 and my top is a size 13 (despite being an hourglass shape) and that skirts and dresses are the only way forward. 

 

The one and only day i wore Spanx to work. Never again.
 
I have now tried all the shops in our local retail park and can no longer blame that one shop that has entirely different sizing to the rest of the word *cough, H&M, cough*. The size 14 trousers will go on and fit perfectly round my bottom (snug yet not showing all crevices, ouch!) but the hook and/or button will just not reach together and if it just does it creates the evil spill over, otherwise known as every mums enemy…The Muffin Top. But the size 16 left me with a saggy arse and lots of material in the thigh/crotch region. This, I have found, is not a good look.  

So the dreaded summer diet is now in effect. It is not, however a diet in the normal terms of the word, as I don’t believe in them. It’s back to the meal plans, fruit and veg lifestyle that I once had sorted. It’s about taking lunches into work rather than eating canteen food which seems to only have a ‘with cheese’ option. It’s about cutting down on the crappy carbs and substituting for ‘slow release’ whole foods. It’s mainly about organising myself so I’m not grabbing the takeaway menu or the frozen pizza out of the freezer.  

Probably shouldnt follow the wise words of my pjs either.
 
So watch this space…this time last year I was a size 13 bottom though so it would seem I’m never going to win…unless I open an odd sizing shop…maybe call it OddBods or something. Any takers?? 

Too old to drink.

I can’t drink anymore. Two weeks after my 31st birthday and I definitely can no longer cope with late nights and lots of alcohol.  The night was great, just the aftermath…not so much.

We saw a band in a bar who played all the best 90’s and 00’s hits.  Think TLC- Waterfalls and Beyonce’s Work It Out. The bar had no white wine and only one bottle of prosecco but it got us in the mood. 

 We tried to find a club and realised we were in totally the wrong part of the city. 

We stopped for a drink in a Hawaiian themed club but after spying at least three hen do’s quickly moved on. 

  
We visited the most cheesy club you could ever possibly imagine called PopWorld.  It had no air-conditioning, the floor was sticky, the clientele looked like extras from ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ but the drinks were cheap and the music was cheesy so, like the sensible ladies we are, we decided to drink until it got fun and I couldn’t feel my feet hurting (breaking in your new, nude stilettos is not a great idea for these type of nights out apparently) 

Two double gin and tonics and we were getting there. We had a little dance and also managed to find the only working (albeit intermittently) air con unit, we were happy! 

Somehow in the midst of this I also managed to pull a guy. He was hot, his name was Sam, he was 28 so we snogged.  Apparently the G&T’s had lowered my age as well as my inhibitions!  It was a proper snog – hilarious!

We swapped numbers but the next time I saw his phone it was being hurled into the road I was standing next to and a woman in Doc Martins was stamping on it! She’d pissed him off so he threw her bag somewhere, then she threw his phone into the road and stamped on it. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be getting a call back from him. 
 So another club, indelible ink stamped on my hand, a packed dance floor, some more drinks and it was definitely home time. 4am, we’d stayed out till 4am!  

 We snuck in so as not to wake Rachel’s fiancé (we found out later we failed royally), we got changed, took our make up off and went to bed. I couldn’t possibly comment whether I was sick in Rachel’s sink before actually falling asleep or not. 

I woke up at 10.30am, which on any other day I would be so excited by as I haven’t had a lie in till then for years, but I felt rough. ROUGH. Get up and be sick, then go to sleep again – rough. I normally have a fairly cast iron stomach but apparently not anymore. 

All my hangover cures failed. Full fat coke – nope. Toast and butter – nope. Rachel even cooked me her fail safe Mac and Cheese but one bite and I knew it wasn’t going to work! 

So after a delicate drive home and a MacDonald’s on the way I came to the conclusion I am now old. Thank goodness for Bank Holiday weekends were me and my feet can have two days to recover, scrub off the sharpie from my hand and visit a friends farm and eat cake with Charlotte.    

Hope you all had a good one! 

Special Offer Alert – The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme!

I am really lucky to be able to offer my readers a Special Early Bird deal for the amazing Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme with Jennie Harrison, Sleep Deprived Mums Coach.

If you’ve read my blog you know how much it helped me and Charlotte.

This Special Early Bird offer ends tomorrow so get signed up quickly.

The programme would normally cost £349 but Jennie is offering this for just £175 if you sign up by 15th May. You can even pay in instalments!

To find out more and sign up go to Jennie’s dedicated page for this amazing offer.

jennieh