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. 

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 ðŸ˜ģI’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. 

Back to basics for us.

Another long hiatus from me I’m afraid. I don’t know how other bloggers do daily posts…weekly seems difficult enough for me! But then maybe their not juggling all the other things too. Work is full on, home is full on and I’m now taking on the challenge of being a completely gluten free household too as, after the biopsy, we had confirmation that Charlotte does indeed have Coeliac Disease. Just what we needed!   

  
So I’m now trying to work out what this means and how it will affect our lives…so far I’ve come to the conclusion that it will affect it a lot! 
I have to admit I have become a lazy cook. We go out for food quite often and we eat ‘easy’ foods. I’m not happy with this scenario as I used to love cooking and trying new things but time has not been on our side and I’ve recently been picking the easiest options. After a trip to Bill’s Restaurant and Starbucks I’ve realised this can not be the way forward. The options available for a four year old Coelic are non existent and this in turn means a hungry child and a stressed out mum! So I’m going to have to go back to basics, meal planning and cooking from scratch. Great! When the hell in going to fit all this in I’m not sure yet! 

  
My high pressure project had a very brief quiet moment last week and I had time to take stock and realise that Charlotte has actually been quite poorly and getting worse over the past few months. Cue ‘worst mum in the world feeling’. She’s tired all the time, she’s waking during the night again, she’s grumpy and so am I and she is catching every bug going. I have also slowly been gaining more and more weight because of this unhealthy lifestyle we’ve slipped into so we need the change but I’m petrified. There’s so much to take in and implement and it seems so overwhelming. So rather that deal with it right now we’re running away on holiday in the hope we’ll both be rejuvenated enough so get cracking on the change when we get back. 

  
So now I have to focus on washing and ironing in order to pack and work out what the hell i’m going to wear by a swimming pool so I don’t look and feel like a beached whale. 
Anyone got a tarpaulin I could borrow?? 

The Vitamin D boost. 

This week I snuck off to Portugal for a childfree break. I didn’t think it would be able to happen as I didn’t think I’d be able to get the time off work or that my ex would have had Charlotte as, before I ripped him a new one over Christmas when he thought having her for one day over the Christmas break was good enough, he wouldn’t have had her for longer than a couple of days. But, surprisingly, when I asked him only because ‘what did I have to lose’, he said yes. 
So I had a cheap, week long break with friends in Portugal booked. I had no time to think about it as work was taking up 100% of my energy so the night before I packed my bags in a very random fashion, ransacked the house for my passport and drove down to Bristol to get on an aeroplane. 
And it’s been a well needed rest. 

 

One of the many beautiful beaches I sat on this week.
 
I’ve said no to the crazy watersports my friends were excited about, I’ve eaten lots of delicious Portuguese food, drunk quite a lot of Portuguese wine and I have sat on various beaches and read my book and thought about life, the universe and everything. I’m not sure I came to any epiphanies or great conclusions but I have definitely decided that my life cannot carry on on the way it is at the moment. I need to off load some stress, I need to enjoy my daughter and the time I have alone. I am currently doing the exact opposite of this. 

 

Feeling a little bit anti-social whilst watching my friends go paddle boarding…not so much when they came back 3 hours later knackered and aching.
 
My travel companions have highlighted this even more as they are all so different to me. Not in a bad way, I’ve had an amazing time and we all get on amazingly well, but they are all living lives and having experiences that I just haven’t even grazed the surface of. They’ve travelled, they’ve been impulsive, they’ve taken risks, they’re all comfortable in the decisions they’ve made and I’ve done none of these things. 
This is not to say that I want to pack up and run off somewhere (although that does sound tempting) but I need to make some drastic changes with both mine and Charlotte’s lives so I do not get to the end of this life and think…well I could have done so much more. 
I’m a homebody, but that doesn’t mean I have to be boring and I’m fed up of feeling like I’m not in control of my life. I want to be dependable for Charlotte but other parents manage to have adventures at the same time so why am I not doing this. 
So I’ve arrived back to cold, grey England and starting to take some steps to put this change into action. I’m not sure quite where they’ll lead to but hopefully it can only be to a good, new place in our life. 

Sunshine on a rainy day

I just went outside in flip flops and a waterproof with the hood up.  I mean come on British Summer! What are you playing at?  When you do it well it’s so good! Take last year as a good example!  

Last summer in the UK in our swimsuits!
 
You’re warm. 

You make getting dressed in the morning easy. 

You make the idea of eating salads regularly seem do-able. 

You make fruit look delicious, juicy and tempting. 

You make it easy to entertain the kids or even let them entertain themselves. 

You make the knowledge that we’re not going abroad this year a bit easier to cope with, as you sit in a pub garden, sipping Pimms.  

You make the weekends seem a bit longer.  

You make going to work not seem too bad, as we know the sun will still be out for a few hours after 5 o’clock.

You make men wear white t-shirts, shorts and sunglasses. Yum!

You make hair lighter, skin sun kissed and freckles appear on the nose. 

In summary it’s bloody awesome! 
However…when you change your temperature every three hours and go from winter-like chills to rainforest-like humidity over the course of a few days…

You make it impossible to know what to hell to wear that day and layering becomes a necessity.  

You keep making us drag the heavy ‘winter clothes’ suitcase down from the top of the wardrobe after tricking us into thinking it would be all summer dresses and shorts from now on. 

You make picnicking into a game called ‘How much of the picnic can you eat before it starts raining?’ (Catchy, I know) 

You make planning in advance impossible. Dare I book tickets to that entirely outdoor event in three days time? …maybe not.

You make that last minute deal to a place you’ve never heard of and with no reviews seem like a really good idea.

You give us sunburn because we didn’t realise the sun was actually out through all that cloud! 

You make us spend more money on fake tan, but then I guess we are saving on sun cream.

And everyone starts to wonder whether Wimbledon will be rained off and whether Glastonbury will be muddy and welly sales go up by 50%.  

 
So please British Summertime, lets maybe use the upcoming summer solstice to change this crappy weather around and give us a boost of vitamin D for a few consecutive weeks please. 
Thanks in advance. 

Feel the burn.

Before I get on my soapbox I will say here and now that I’m not perfect and my shoulders are a bit pink but…

Letting your children burn in the sun is an inexcusable offence. It is only the third proper day of our holiday in Tunisia (average temperature being 34oC) and it is the start of the season so no holiday maker has been here longer than that, yet worryingly I have already spied multiple children with bright red backs, legs and shoulders cavorting in the midday sunshine.  I then look to their parents and see sizzled lobsters rotating like a rotisserie themselves.  The adults are stupid but they have made that choice themselves however, what example are they setting to their children and why do think it’s acceptable to let their children’s beautiful, clear skin burn like that?  
Truthfully they probably have a holiday like this every year and have let them burn every one of their very few years which makes me really angry. 

 

I’m fair, slightly freckly and slightly ginger (something I have now come to terms with and embraced). Of course, if I sit in the sun with no cover, shade or protection then I will burn and sometimes I miss a spot with a sun cream and it hurts and I feel stupid, however Charlotte has always seen me apply lashings of factor 50 sun cream on if we’re venturing out and helps me reach my back when I can’t and because of this she knows that this is what happens and not just once through the day but it will happen multiple times.  I make sure we stay out of the sun in the peak hours of midday sun because dehydration, heat stroke, sun burn and ultimately skin cancer is not something I want either Charlotte or I to have to deal with.  

 

So to those parents of the three year old with the bright red strap marks and then dressing them in another swim suit with shoulders and backs exposed you should be ashamed of yourselves. 
And don’t even get me started on bikinis on three year olds!!

We made it! 

We’re on holiday! We finally got here and it has been no mean feat as last Sunday Charlotte came home with chicken pox. Worst. Timing. Ever.  

I panicked, I hoped it would be a mild case, I accepted offers of reassurance that every child is different and it may not even bother her…
They were wrong – she was covered from head to toe by Monday and decidedly grumpy, whiney, whingey and eventually properly poorly.  Luckily each of these stages were fairly quick even though I did feel like I was suffering from proper jail fever and ready to crack. By Friday however we managed to get out of the house and by that evening we had a signed a ‘fit to fly’ note saying we could actually get on a plane without infecting the whole carriage! 
So after all that drama and uncertainty it was amazing to get on the plane and eventually get to our resort. It is all inclusive so I intend to eat, drink and be merry with Charlotte and my friends who have braved holidaying with us.