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! 

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)

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.

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.

69343e86b2e691c8af78883cdb3f4e54

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. 

Barefaced

I never thought of myself as a ‘make up’ person.  I just wear mascara because as a ginger/blond-ish person I generally look half asleep if I don’t. I wear some sort of base just so that my rosy cheeks don’t make me look like I’ve been on the wine all day (I promise I haven’t!) and so it covers some of the dark circles under my eyes, but that is usually it. I was also briefly an Avon rep but had to give it up as I was spending all/more of my earnings on the very same make up I was supposed to be selling, but I definitely wasn’t a ‘make-up’ person…or so I thought.

However, a couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night before going to the theatre with a friend, I lost my make-up bag.

 It was my own fault for a) trying to apply make-up whilst walking, b) having a small bag which was, as usual bursting at the seams and c) not being remotely aware of the world around me and, in my defence it was the end of a stressful week. I’d just finished work after a 9-hour day and I was knackered and somehow between the carpark and the restaurant I was meeting my friend at, I lost my make-up bag…with all my make up in it.

And I cried.

I’ll just go back to the bit about my stressful day and week for justification but that seemed like an overreaction to losing some make up, even to me!  But it wasn’t just some, it was all of it.

I’d lost my beloved Bare Minerals brush which made applying foundation or BB cream quick and easy, meaning I could do my make up in the 3 minutes from when I drove into the work carpark and when I actually exited the car to go into work. 

I’d lost my blusher which made me look a bit more alive on a cold day. 

I’d lost my bronzer which led me to believe (even for just a brief second) that I do actually tan when I go on holiday (I don’t).

I lost my eyeliner which I had just about got the hang of applying and made me look slightly more grown up and sophisticated – well I thought anyway and,

I had lost my Cath Kidston make-up bag which my brother and sister-in-law got me for my first birthday after splitting with my ex and when everything was, pretty much, falling down around my ears.

So I sat in the car and I cried…and then I realised I couldn’t fix my face because I had no make-up, so I cried a bit more.

So apparently I am a make-up person.

I also hadn’t realised how expensive the stuff is! Generally, you don’t buy your make up all in one go.  You slowly build a collection, working out what brands, colours, textures you like, spending time and effort culturing this collection that will help you face the day. £5 here, £7 there.  So having to walk into Superdrug on a Sunday and purchase everything in one go was a bit of an overwhelming situation for both myself and my wallet.  I forgot what skin tone I had, I forgot how some mascaras just irritate my contact lenses and I look like a panda by lunchtime. I forgot that, unless its fool proof, I’m going to fuck it up and unless its quick I’m not going to use it. But after what seemed like hours hovering over all the make-up stands (so much so the ‘security’ had started to loiter close to me) I put all the novelty items back. I gave up trying to fit everything in with the myriad of BOGOF, 2for1 and spend ‘£20 get a free contouring set’ deals and gathered together a selection of, what I think, are fool proof items to start my new collection, and do you know what?  I don’t think I’ve done too badly.

2016-22-2--22-47-21

I am not Superwoman

Well, its official, my mind is a mess, my body is a mess, my house is a mess and my parenting style is a mess.  I have been working long hours for a hellish project and it has taken its toll on every part of me. This week I’ve cried in the office over a very small thing, I’ve cried at home over big and small things. I’ve had a very poorly tummy (I will say no more on that right now), I’ve stared at my massive washing up pile every evening for the past four days but have not yet washed it up and I’m being a shit mum as all I want to do is come home and veg on the sofa when Charlotte wants me to play and we have eaten crap way too often recently (thank goodness nursery gives her real food).  

 I am apparently part time and have the salary that goes with it, yet I have also worked more than full time hours over the past few weeks and have been logging on at home in the evenings just to get stuff done.  This is not a recipe for a happy, well-balanced life is it?

 So I’m thinking about going to the doctors to be signed off for a bit after long and teary discussions with lots of my friends because I’m not sure I can do it anymore. But something is stopping me and I can’t quite figure out what.  Pride, maybe. Stubbornness, maybe.  Conscientiousness, maybe. Worried about the stigma, maybe.  But I think it’s mainly down to the fact that, even though I know it’s utter bullshit, somewhere inside of me still seems to think I should be fucking Superwoman!!  This fictional character who is able to deal with all areas of life effectively, all the time.  Whose house is spotless. Whose children don’t have tantrums and do eat broccoli. Whose nails are perfectly manicured at all times and who can still hold down a full time job and keep up with the high stresses in her job.  Single mum or not Superwoman has her shit together

superwoman Well being Superwoman and ‘having it all’ seems like a quick way into an early grave, so, as one of my friends said, I need to choose my priorities.  Surprisingly work comes nowhere near the top of this list so I need to make sure it’s not at the top of my stress list either. 

 I feel a revelation coming on. #iamnotsuperwoman

 

 

The Single Mum’s 29 (ish)-Day Challenge

Whilst wasting time passing some time on Pinterest I came upon an infographic entitled ‘The Single Girls 30-Day Challenge’.  Now, I am single girl (…lets not mention that the rest of my divorce still hasn’t gone through yet…) but not many of the challenges seemed particularly realistic so I tweaked a few and ended up with this, much more do-able, 30-day challenge.  But as its the 1st February and I’ve crossed a couple off it can be my 29 (ish) day challenge.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

e3f8150e_Love_Sex-SingleGirlsChallenge

BuzzFeed made me do it.

buzzfeedI love those BuzzFeed lists. Especially the ones where it mentions somewhere local to you or a place you’ve been, or things you remember in the 90’s…and their quizzes (that I never share the answers to because they’re too true and my parents are on Facebook) and their videos about how to create a perfect fishtail plait (still not perfected it).  But I have found that checking your Facebook feed at 11.30pm on a Sunday and clicking on a BuzzFeed list, when you should really be in bed asleep, is not a good plan.

10 Gorgeous Bras.

Ooo, I thought, I love a gorgeous bra. Click.

  1. Nice
  2. Nice (if you have no boobs)
  3. Nice if you don’t have to wear anything over it
  4. Nice (if you have no boobs)
  5. Nice (if you are a size zero and have no boobs)
  6. Nice
  7. Ooo, really nice…’You can get this from Ann Summers’…click, damn it- didn’t mean to click that link…
  8. Ooo more nice bras…
  9. Ooo a sale…
  10. A sale that is only on for another 30 mins!!
  11. ‘Type in your bra size’…type, type, click,
  12. Ooo bras in my size!! (doesn’t often happen)
  13. Ooo, I like that one
  14. Ooo they have matching knickers
  15. Ooo, they’re in the sale
  16. Ooo, Add to basket, click, click…
  17. Well I might as well have a look at the rest of what they have on offer…
  18. Ooo, Add to basket, click
  19. Ooo, Add to basket, click…
  20. Checkout, ah well I don’t have my card on me so never…
  21. Ooo pay by PayPal, enter password, click, click, confirm order, click.

And that, my friends is why you should not read BuzzFeed posts late at night and, why I had to go and collect a large parcel from my new neighbours this evening which, not so subtly, said it was from GOLD GROUP HOUSE and to send any returns to AS Ltd.