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.
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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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A new frame of mind

IMG_0485.JPGI’m starting to have a hard time keeping faith that all single men are not douchebags and that there might actually be some decent guys still out there. I’m starting to think that maybe I’m destined to be single forever and should actively choose this life because my heart is too fragile to take any more douchey-ness. I think I deserve someone who genuinely takes care of my heart, not stomps it into the ground without so much as a fleeting thought.

I’m also starting to wonder if it’s me. The type of person i am attracted to just seems to automatically mean dickhead, who will think it’s ok to just stop texting, or to meet a few times and then say they have problems and can’t concentrate on a relationship right now. Why are all 30 something single men flaky, commitment-phobic knobs? I genuinely want to know!

I have wasted so much time talking to men who seem genuinely interested…some for months and then they just disappear – no warning, no signs, no explanation. Some may pop back with an excuse or two but nothing credible or worth the radio silence. This seems to now be an acceptable way of ending things. It’s not.

I don’t think this is an attraction issue, those I have met have never seemed disgusted and have usually met more than once. They talk the talk, they kiss the kiss all that stuff and like an idiot I get hooked in.

But I have to make a decision for self preservation, that this can happen no more, I have been taken for a ride more than enough now and I know that I deserve better. So my new pact to myself is no more late night conversations via Whatsapp – if they want to talk to me they can pick up the phone or invite me out. Emojis are not good enough. No more long distance attempts – an hours drive is not sustainable in my life right now so why kid myself it could work? No more ‘likes’ on POF – if they like me they will find a way to contact me and no more playing games and overthinking – if they don’t like my honest answer then they aren’t the right person. I am so tired of it all.

So it seems that I will be single for the foreseeable future but no change there then, hey? But that’s ok I guess, I’ve got Charlotte, I’ve got friends, I’ve just started my new job, I’ll be moving house soon and selling my flat so lots of things to focus on that don’t involve dealing with idiots (other than colleagues and estate agents) and for now I’ll just cling on to ‘everything happens for a reason’. That’s a real thing, right?

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Big girls don’t cry…

I have had to be a big brave girl this week and explain to someone why I can no longer be friends with them. It was a conversation that had to happen in order for me to completely be able to move on with my life and not let them hold me back.

I have had to make some difficult decisions before with so called ‘friends’ but usually, I have taken the cowards way out and not explained the full reason why I can’t or won’t talk to them again or be around them. I have gone to all lengths to avoid bumping into them and have just wiped them from my brain as much as possible. (I know healthy, right?)

But this one was different…this one was a man who was one of my closest friends at a point when I needed all the love and support I could get. He was also someone I stupidly fell in love with and it took me nearly a year to work out that he was taking full advantage of my feelings for him and I wasn’t getting a lot in return. He lived miles away and I was always doing the trips along the motorway, I always heard from him when things were going wrong and he needed a shoulder to cry on but when things were going well in his life I wasn’t his first port of call. He was recently separated as well so we had a lot in common but the support given to each other was definitely not evenly distributed.

My eyes were finally opened in my week of hell as I realised (whilst crying down the motorway after a visit to him) that friends don’t treat each other like he had treated me. I felt naive, used and like a teenager. He had made the most of my feelings towards him, which many times he said were reciprocated, but then when things came to the crunch he didn’t want to man up and be there for me. Over that next week he just confirmed his knobhead-ness with a string of actions which showed he didn’t give a shit about my feelings at all. So I stopped talking to him.
I thought I’d got away with it and that would be that. We lived miles away from one another and wouldn’t bump into each other and he didn’t try and contact me so I got on with life and started to mend my heart and move on. Until now.

He wanted to know why I still wasn’t talking to him. He wanted to know why we couldn’t be friends. He wanted to know that I was ok and “how was Charlotte?” so I had to explain. In clear words, I had to explain why we couldn’t be friends anymore. Why I needed to move on and why he wasn’t a healthy part of my life. So I have. He wanted more explanations and had his own version of events but in the end I feel how I feel and that’s not going to change. The past month where we haven’t spoken and I’ve hardly thought if him have been good. I have managed to get back to focusing on me and my daughter and have even opened my life back up to actually meeting someone special who WANTS to be in my life. I know I will miss him at times but I value myself way more than to let myself be swept along by someone else who may not be sweeping me in the right direction. I deserve to be swept off my feet instead. A hard conversation to have but I’m very glad I’ve been brave enough to do it. At 30 I may finally have grown some balls! About time!

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Try not to get burnt!

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So…tinder! If you’re not aware of it, it is a ‘dating’ app of sorts. What peoples version of ‘dating’ is seems to be broad and varied though. It is officially one of the most superficial and bizarre apps going I think, but for some reason, after a few friends mentioned it (married or in long term relationship friends who had heard about it through other single friends) it intrigued me so I downloaded it and decided to have a go.

A warning at this point though… if you’re not sure you’re ready to step into the big, scary world of dating yet I would not recommend this as the place to start!

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I set up my profile just after joining match thinking the more the merrier but I was nowhere near ready for it! I set up my profile with a few nice photos from Facebook, set my radius (20 miles), my gender I was looking for (man), my age range (27-40) and then dipped my toe in.

The general gist of tinder for those who don’t know is…a photo of a guy, his name and and his age pops up, if you like the look of him you can check out a few more photos and either swipe right for ‘yes’ or left for ‘no’. You can also do this on your first glance of they’re definitely not your type. So, I started swiping and after a few minutes found I couldn’t swipe right for anyone! The only way the guy knows you said ‘yes’ to them is if they swipe right for you too, so they would never know if I’d said no to them or yes if they didn’t pick me too but I just felt so uncomfortable saying yes to anyone! The hot guys were too hot and I presumed would never pick me, and there were a lot of definite no’s, so I didn’t get anywhere! The whole idea of it scared me and so I put it down and went to hide.

For a couple of months.

I then decided I felt a bit braver having been on a few dates from match.com so had another go and even swiped right for a few good looking men, turns out some of them had swiped right for me too! Another boost to the confidence but Eeek!

However…a few notes/warnings that I have unfortunately learnt through experience.
a) the radius is well off so people who tinder had said were 20 miles away actually turned out to be 100+ miles away which kind of defeats the point of finding someone local to you.
b) you will see people you know, married or not. You have to choose what you do with this information.
c) men seem to be perfectly happy to post photos of their penises – only their penises!! (I can only presume they’ve set up a Facebook account especially for this)
c) men seem to think it is a good thing if they post their wedding pictures or pictures if them snuggling up with an ex. I’m not sure about you but that seems a weird way to try and get a date!
d) The range of what people seem to be looking for is crazy. I have had messages from men who give me their postcode straight away so I can ‘pop over for a shag’. Ummm…no thank you! I have had guys who have freely admitted they are married (unhappily of course!) Boo hoo for them but not helping you cheat, sorry! I have had guys who start off seeming normal then after exchanging phone numbers have whatsapp’d me a picture of their penis/bum/or worse…and men lie, lots and can keep up with the lies seemingly for a long time. :/

I have also chatted with a few nice guys, but either due to distance or diaries have only been on a date with one guy. A IT manager from Bristol. A bit of a trek for a date but I love and know Bristol well so it wasn’t a big issue. We met half way. A great first date at Jamie’s Italian with even a kiss at the end, but only one date as he went quiet on me a couple of weeks later. I can only presume someone else cropped up or the distance became an issue.

So to sum up, if you’re looking for something deep and meaningful I’m not sure tinder is the place to find it but for a bit of light hearted fun it’s worth a go, and you never know, sparks might fly! Happy swiping!

Ps. If you’re in need of a giggle at some of the worst lines used on tinder a scroll through http://tinderlines.com is a must! *not for the under 18’s

Getting back in the game.

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One of the many reasons I decided to start a blog was because I stepped into the completely unknown world of Internet dating in March and there is just way too much material out there to keep to myself!!!

I dutifully signed up to match.com after a weekend away with my best friend and a fair amount of peer pressure. I was definitely ready to start meeting new people but it was just so alien to me! So after writing and re-writing my profile and having it proof read by a small group of trusted friends, I paid my membership fee and joined the game…and do you know what it’s actually quite fun! It took a while for me to get used to the whole ‘winking’ thing (I am still yet to wink at anyone!) and the excitement of seeing someone looking at your profile and the disappointment when you don’t get a wink or email, but at the very least I have managed to have some intelligent, interesting, adult conversations with the opposite sex which, to be completely honest, has not happened for a very long time. Even whilst still in my marriage. You quickly get used to laughing at the ‘your boobs looks great’ emails and if nothing else, it’s a boost to the self esteem which can never hurt 😉

Still no long term loves have appeared – I’m not sure I’m actually ready for that bit yet, but so far I’ve been on dates with a Spanish doctor (sexy and talkative and a gentleman – a good one to start with), a political advisor (older and desperate to settle down), a short guy (with definite short man syndrome – hot though!) a tall guy (lots in common but just no spark), a car salesman (who talked a good talk, as you can imagine) and many long conversations via email that never ended up turning into a date. But I guess this is what ‘me time’ is all about, trying to find out what works for me and who I am again, after 10 years of being someone’s girlfriend, fiancé and wife. It’s actually been quite a fun journey so far…

As for tinder…well that deserves a post ALL of its own!!! 🙂