Put the phone down and look up.

I’m setting myself a challenge. To put the smart phone down and look up more. Live in the moment if you will. It sounds crazy that I even have to set myself this challenge, but what with my blog, the Facebook groups I run, my love of scrolling through Instagram and my self-diagnosed addiction to all things social, I need to nip it in the bud and focus on what is important.

 
My daughter.

 
A poll was recently taken by Digital Awareness UK of 2,000 11-18 year olds and, amongst many other upsetting stats, it showed that:

 

“36% of pupils asked their parents to put down their phone… [of these pupils]…46% said their parents took no notice while 44% felt upset and ignored.”

 
I don’t want to be in that 46%.

 
Everyone says it all goes so fast and I’m now worried that I’ll miss the bits I am lucky enough to be around for, when not at work and when she’s not at her dads, because either she or I or both of us have our noses buried in a tablet or a phone.

IMG_0476
It’s unnecessary. It’s antisocial and it’s not how I want to parent.

 
Mum guilt is a bitch and there’s so many things I feel guilty about but can’t change. This, however, I can.

 
So, from school pick up to bedtime, my phone is going away. The tablet is only being used for half an hours entertainment if needs be whilst I get dinner ready (my tv is currently kaput) and my thrilling social life (ha ha) will just have to wait.

 
Who else fancies joining me? Let me know in the comments so we can be strong together!

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I’m sorry I’m the mum you hate. 

I’ve recently realised that I’m one of those mum’s. 

I sewed buttons and cuffs on one of Charlotte’s dresses and hunted down gold balloons so she could be Veruca Salt for Reading Week’s fancy dress day.  

Veruca Salt with Golden Egg and Golden Ticket of course.

I sent my daughter to school on Red Nose Day with her face painted. 

Just a quick face paint job before school.

And I have just spent the last weekend
and a couple of evenings
cultivating a floral masterpiece that is Charlotte’s Easter bonnet. 

She has had a hand in all these ideas, and is particularly fussy about what chicks and rabbits go where but, I realise, I’ve put too much effort in. 

Maybe the most over the top Easter Bonnet ever made?

This is not because I have oodles of spare time after I’ve been to the gym and had a manicure(I wish)

This is not because I want my daughter to win the
Easter bonnet competition I promise.

It’s because I actually love doing these things and there’s pretty much no other time I get to do this stuff! 

As a single parent who has 6/7 evenings stuck at home whilst Charlotte sleeps, it’s sometimes a choice between being creative and making something that Charlotte will be proud of or watch yet another box set on Netflix (If you haven’t watched Frankie and Grace yet, get on it)…or even more dangerous upload a dating app and chat to a variety of men who will all, I can guarantee, turn out to be knobheads at one point or another. 

Unfortunately my job doesn’t give me much room for manoeuvre when it comes to creativity either, unless I manage to sneak through a document typed in Calibri rather than Arial up the sign off chain. 

So, rather than pop to the supermarket to buy something ready done or not do something at all, I look like the ‘pain in the arse mum’ who has spent ages helping and curating something, has spent £100s on craft paraphernalia (I didn’t, I somehow already had everything in stock) and may even have her own glue gun (I do).

And for this, I’m sorry.

If it helps you to forgive me at all, I have not once baked cakes for the cake sale and Charlotte’s decided she now hates the Easter bonnet. Naturally.

Dropping the F-bomb.

I’m holding my hands up…I’m a sweary mum. I TRY my hardest to keep it clean whilst Charlotte is around but if some knobhead (oops) cuts me up in traffic I am likely to call him (or her) out on it at high volume and it comes out of my mouth before I remember to censor it for my 5 year old’s ears.

My attention was brought to my effusive language after catching Charlotte dropping some form of F bomb whilst walking away from me not once, but twice this week. My heart sank. I’m a failure as a mum. 

“What a silly, naughty man” is sooo much less cathartic than “What a fucking dick” though, don’t you think? 

I hardly ever remember my parents swearing when I was younger. We would get reprimanded if we said ‘crap’ which seems to be a pre-watershed word nowadays. Bugger was ok, just. Bother was preferred. When pushed during my teen years my mother may have uttered the f word but sort of muted herself when she said it. Much like when your nanna has to say ‘lesbian’. 

I obviously did not inherit this restraint.

Nope, I’m the mum who swears and then wishes she hadn’t because she isn’t quite sure if the mum she’s talking to is a kindred spirit or one of those mum’s who suddenly look like you’ve hurt their delicate ears when you call someone a wanker.

I’ve also come to realise I’m the colleague who swears. Open plan offices are not ideal for this. My job makes me say ‘for fucks sake’ approximately 100 times a day so keeping that internalised would surely be bad for my health! Luckily my team mates are well aware of my colourful language but I’m sure not everyone approves. 

I wish I was more mild mannered and I have tried, but it’s too hard to keep all the effing and jeffing in and filter it to a more child friendly/ work friendly chiding and so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the end of the world. 

Telling someone ‘I fucking love you’ makes it seem all the more true and heartfelt (sniff), telling someone they have acted like a dick helps you get your point across more strongly and if Charlotte needs to try these words out at home then it’s not the end of the world. I would be a pretty massive hypocrite if I said she couldn’t use those words wouldn’t I?! 

It’s parents evening this week though so we’ll see if she’s been dropping them anywhere else as well. 😬

Walking on the tight rope.

Walking the tight rope

Mental health is a bitch. It is a reactive, sensitive balancing act that, for some, seems like no problem at all and for others can be a precarious tight rope walk, just waiting to fall and hoping there is a net somewhere deep below. 

I was on that tight rope for a long time. I suffered with depression for many months, if not years and I suffered from post natal depression (PND) and anxiety with maybe a bit of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) thrown in there after having my daughter. Every now and again I feel like I’m back on it, wobbling. Not very often thankfully but every now and again. Today is not one of those days but I can completely understand how someone feels up there. 

My blog name is theperfectjuggler, which, for the most part is a ‘tongue in cheek’ name but, sometimes that extra ball can be the difference between having good mental health and it all going down the pan very quickly. 

The government have, this week, said that they will be putting more funding into mental health care. Perfect timing as Monday 16 January is known as ‘Blue Monday’. The most depressing day of the year. 

They want to make workplaces more able to help and support those with mental health issues, they want schools to teach about how to maintain good mental health and for teachers to know how to be aware of children who may be developing mental health issues and how to deal with those who already have them. They are also upping the funding into mental health services for pregnant women and new mothers. All of which have been seriously lacking. I agree with this focus and hope that they actually see this initiative through. 

Ironically I have just had to tell the department I work for that I will no longer be able to lead their Wellbeing group as my own mental health was suffering. This one added responsibility which I was passionate about and enjoyed, was the ball I could no longer juggle, and before I dropped it I had to put it down voluntarily.

I know lots of people that are suffering with ‘bad’ mental health, 1 in 4 of us will suffer with a mental health issue in our life time and I just want to say, I get it. I get feeling so low that you want to hide. I get that you don’t want to talk about it. I get that sometimes, it seems like the best way for everyone would be if you weren’t around anymore. I get that you didn’t think you could cry anymore but you do and I get that some people don’t get it. 

I also get that it can get better by focusing on the good things in your life and removing some of the bad ones, by not letting yourself become insular and selfish, by helping yourself climb back up the ladder to the tightrope, even if it’s just one tiny step at a time. It can get better by seeking help, and support from professionals, from family and from friends. By developing resilience techniques like mindfulness, meditation and exercise, to use when you next have a wobble. And lastly to realise that you can’t necessarily change what happens to you but only you can change how you deal with it when it does. 

Things will get better, I promise, I’m proof that they do. 

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! 

First days of school.


We’re three days in so I think I can officially say we’ve survived school so far!! (OK, so officially they’ve only been half days and I’ve been working from home but we’re both still alive so please indulge me!)

So far, to date, we have only had: 

3 tears – hers not mine. 
2 grazed knees 
1 grazed chin
1 hair clip lost 
3 tantrums over kinder eggs at the end of the day. 

All fairly standard yes?! 

The tears were, bizarrely, this morning as I started to walk away. I think this may be the slow realisation that she’s got another 14 years of this routine before she’s free! And now I’m crying because I’ve just realised that too! 

I’m a bit nervous about still working my 30 hour weeks now she’s at school but, thank goodness for flexible working, I’ll still be able to drop her off everyday and pick her up at school finishing time three days a week. The rest of the time will be in the hands of after school club.  

I’m also, selfishly, a bit nervous about whether I’ll make any friends at the school gates. I didn’t make it to the ‘new parents’ social over the summer and the next one is on a Tuesday at 8pm so think that’s unlikely too but hopefully I will spot a few friendly faces and get chatting to some other real life parents. No fake yummy mummies here please! 

So my baby, who turned 5 ten days ago is at school. 

Bloody hell. 

Proud mummy.

I hope she’s ready. I hope she’ll love it. I hope she makes life long friends or, at least primary school long friends. I hope she’ll be reading in the next few months which will blow my mind and I hope that her writing will develop even further than it has already. But most of all, I hope that she will grow and develop into an amazing, bright, well-rounded child who aspires for great things to happen. 

That might seem a bit too much but I know she’s got it in her. 

Maybe she’ll inspire her mum to do great things too. 

I’d love to know how everyone else’s first weeks have gone. Hope you’ve survived too! 

Living for the weekend – mum style.

This morning I have, so far, done two loads of washing and hung them out, cleaned my bathroom, unblocked a u-pipe (or whatever it’s called), been adorned with stickers, watched crap kids programmes and had the obligatory morning argument with Charlotte. 

Despite all this I really do live for my weekends at the moment and this one is no different. 

I’ve had a pretty rubbish week. A scan which showed I have gallstones (even though that wasn’t actually what they were looking for), a hot and sweaty trip down to London, a horrendous pain in my abdomen that has lasted three days and counting, which apparently has something to do with the aforementioned gallstones. Work is just awful at the moment. We’ve had tantrums every evening either due to over tiredness or the heat and I’ve also been messed around by yet another sociopath. So yeah, it’s been emotional. 

So I’m hoping this weekend is better. 

Whether I have Charlotte or whether it’s one of my child free weekends I’m determined to make the most of them so after a bit more tidying up we’re off out to find a gluten free and now low fat/no fat lunch and then heading to a street party in the heart of Warwick. Then dinner with a friend. 

I will not let one shit week crush me but if next week could be better, that’d be great! 

Also I’m starting Blurt Foundation’s #365daysofselfcare challenge as I know I’m rubbish at looking after myself and it’s becoming apparent I need to for my health and sanity! Come and join in with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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.