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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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. 

I have a confession…

I have a confession and those of you who follow me on Instagram may have twigged by now…

Nope, I haven’t had a mental breakdown…well not quite anyway!

 

Nope, I’m not pregnant (thank goodness)

 

Nope, I’ve not killed someone at work and writing this from a prison cell (that’s probably the most likely of these three options)

 

But yep, this serial failed dater actually has a lovely, legitimate boyfriend. Sound the fanfair!!


My first sneaky photo of us.
My first sneaky photo of us.
To those of you who have never read my blog before this might not seem like a fanfair type event.  Everyone has relationships don’t they?  But after three long years of being single and dating a myriad of idiots, knobheads, commitment phobes and emotionally unavailable men I finally seem to have found a good one.  The coveted needle in the haystack.

 

It was a marvel that I ever met this guy in the first place though as I cancelled all my dating apps (yes, again) and declared that I would be single for a year without looking for ‘the one’ (yes, again) after I got screwed over by a deceivingly ‘nice’ guy (yes, again).

 

There was, luckily, one guy who slipped through the net though and despite all my new promises to myself we kept chatting and eventually managed to meet up and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Now we have been dating for three whole months and I think I’m getting the hang of how to have a boyfriend at 32 and when there’s children involved. Yet another learning curve to make my way up but I’m enjoying it so far.

 

I was even brave enough to ask for our first 'couple' selfie.
I was even brave enough to ask for our first ‘couple’ selfie.

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.

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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.

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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!

Fun Friday – review of Finding Dory

It does feel a little bit like the summer holidays over here even though Charlotte will still be going to nursery for four more weeks. We have fun things planned for our Friday’s off (Fun Friday’s if you will), we have all our weekends together booked up with people to see and places to go and a few days spare to still enjoy the sun which will hopefully decide to stick around a bit longer. (It is however raining as I write this!)

 

For our first Fun Friday of then summer we decided to go and see Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory movie.  It was released today so the cinema was busy but we went to the early showing so still had enough room to move (well I could have if Charlotte hadn’t insisted on sitting on my lap throughout). Click here for the link to the trailer.

 

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I was was looking forward to a light, hilarious caper with a small amount of mild peril as per the previous film Finding Nemo, which I may or may not have owned before Charlotte was even a twinkle in the postmans eye (not really if my ex reads my blog!).  We’ve recently seen The Secret Life of Pets and before that Zootropolis which we both loved.

 

But…

 

…oh how wrong I was though. For a U rating this had some really adult themes and I’m actually quite shocked.  I’ve always loved Disney/Pixar collaborations for the great mix of children’s humour with a smattering of ‘over the kids heads’ jokes for the poor parents having to watch yet another U or PG rated film, but this was severely lacking in the humour.  Yes, there was some funny seals for about four minutes. There was a crazy bird. An octopus gets splatted a couple of times but the rest just felt a bit angsty.

 

I won’t spoil the story for you in case you decide to see it but the vague gist is that Dory is on a quest to find her long lost parents. Cue flashbacks of cute baby Dory with parents, flashbacks of baby Dory trying to make friends but failing. Cue tears from me (although I cry at everything nowadays) and a very confused, emotional four year old.

 

I have to say I was quite disappointed with the film after waiting so long for the sequel to one of my most favourite kid’s films. So maybe save the £20 for another film or something else that won’t leave you having to console your child and secretly having to find the tissues too.  We went to our free art gallery after the film which Charlotte seemed much more enthralled about.

 

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Charlottes drawing the ‘lady with boobies’ (not its official title) at the Royal Pump Rooms Art Gallery in Leamington Spa

 

 

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.

The green fingered gene.

I’m starting to wonder whether there is a gardening gene that didn’t get passed on to me?? 

My parents definitely have it. Dad more so that mum, but I think it may have been a recessive gene. Fought off by the ‘love of magazines’ gene or the ‘gift wrapping’ gene. 

This is the first spring I’ve had a garden and at first glance I love it! I’m currently sitting on the patio drinking my morning coffee (Hope the neighbours don’t mind seeing me in my dressing gown!). But did you know that gardens need work doing to them? 

What i thought having a garden was like.

The grass needs to be mowed on a bi-daily basis from what I can gather, if you don’t want it to suddenly look like a scene from the Jungle Book. 

Things need taking up at specific times or putting in at specific times. 
Bushes need pruning (I giggled to myself then 😂).
Climbers need tying back 

and to top it off I have to go on pooh patrol before venturing out as Sophie has not found a specific ‘spot’ yet for number 2’s and is obviously testing out every square foot of ground to see what feels best! 

I have bought or been given all the tools for this ‘hobby’ (read full time job) and hoped I would turn into some green fingered, nature loving, ‘The Good Life’ type of woman but it has not yet happened. Is this one of those practice makes perfect type things? Because frankly, I haven’t got the time! 

Yep, i have a book about shrubs.

I AM debating painting my shed pink but I’m not quite sure that’s my top priority! 

Well, I better get on with it, I stupidly organised a birthday BBQ for me next weekend and so far have no BBQ, no outside table to put the food on and no food to put on the hypothetical BBQ! Who says I take on too much!?!

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 😳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. 

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??