Friday, November 22, 2019

Smoke and Mirrors...

There is so much pressure these days to look good on Social Media (and I should know, I do it for a living!)

Getting that perfect picture and filtering it just right, sometimes overshadows the moment. 

We live in a world where people watch live music through the screen of their phone and show up at an event just "for the 'Gram".

We aren't unaware of the effect this has on our mental health, we just choose to ignore it! 

I've always suffered of a case of the green eyed monster, always watched other social media accounts enviously and I know it does me no good.

I've always felt a lot of pressure to give Martin a "perfect Christmas" but this year even more so because it's my first as a single Mam. 

So for this reason, I'm coming off Facebook for the whole of December. 

Not only will it save all my friends and family a month of Elf of the Shelf pictures but it will stop me comparing our Christmas to everyone elses. 

Because ours will be pretty damn great!

Katy x

Perfect representation of Real Life V Instagram!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Haven Point

This will be the first time I’ve devoted an entire blog to a particular place but you know what this place is so good it deserves it!

Since having Martin four years ago every time a fellow Mammy asks about where to go swimming on Facebook the answer is always “Haven Point”

Being all the way over in South Shields I hadn’t ventured there before but on Martin’s birthday we found most places were shut so I decided to give it a try.

It’s really not difficult to get to, there is a pay and display car park outside and as it was a weekday there was plenty of space (and also the facility to pay via your phone which is handy!)

As I have anxiety I can get very nervous about going to new places but the staff behind the reception desk sharp made me feel comfortable straight away. The lovely lady clocked Martin’s birthday badge and wished him a happy birthday. She explained where everything was, the slides we could use and then came out from the desk to walk us to the door to show us where we were going.

It was also a bargainous £6.50 for the two of us!

The changing rooms were spotless, lovely and warm and the lockers were much bigger than what we were used to.
Martin always has a snack while I get ready!

Haven point has three pools, one standard pool for adults, one teaching pool and then the leisure pool which is where we were. The leisure pool is amazing and so warm! There’s also a bubble pool and two larger slides (but Martin wasn’t brave enough for that!)

It was much nicer getting changed afterwards in a warm facility (lets face it, it is the worst part!) and then we went for well deserved fish and chips and a gander at the amusements.

A 4th Birthday well spent!

Birthday Slush

Monday, September 23, 2019

Why I buy gifts for my ex-husband...

Today my ex-husband turns 41. By this time last year I had spent months secretly squirreling money away, organising a surprise birthday bash and spent both time and effort on gifts.

Here's the thing... I will always get him a gift. Even on fathers day when the break up was quite fresh I made sure he had a gift. 

I haven't even had so much as a 29p Card Factory Card for Mothers Day or my Birthday but I will still make sure there is something there to wrap up. And I always will.

Because it's not from me, it's from our Son.

My parents divorced when I was little and buying my Dad and Step Mum gifts was always a struggle. My sister and I used to save our dinner money to club together and get them a little gift but obviously that's not ideal. And it's not something I ever want Martin to worry about. 

When he's old enough I will ensure he has some money to choose things himself but until that day I will ensure that every Fathers day, Birthday and Christmas he will have something to give his Dad. Not because I want Peter to have a gift to unwrap but because I know Martin, kind loving boy that he is, will want something to give.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

An Open Letter to My Ex-Husband

So today is the day I've received my Decree Absolute. I'm officially divorced and not sure how to feel.
 I know lots of women celebrate the event, go out on the drink and have a "divorce party" to mark the return of their single life but honestly, I don't think being divorced at 33 is something to celebrate. So I've decided to write this letter to my Ex even though he may never read it.

Dear Peter,

I told you before we got married that I actually didn't believe in Divorce. It was no lie. I wanted the family unit of Mammy and Daddy and children and I wanted it for life. 

I want you to know that I didn't make this decision lightly. I know it might seem like I did. The truth is I had to act quickly if I was to find the strength to go through with it this time as leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 

I can never ever regret being married to you because of course you gave me Martin, the most wonderful gift I could ever receive. He brings me joy every single day and I am so proud of him and know that you are too.

I'm also proud of the steps we're making in co-parenting our child. I am determined to never let this affect Martin and you will never find me anything less than amicable and communicative when we talk about our gorgeous boy. 

And most importantly, I forgive you.
For each and every heartbreak I forgive you.

I also hope that someday, you can forgive me.

Your ex wife,

Katy x

Friday, August 23, 2019

Unrealistic Expectations

Nothing can quite prepare you for Motherhood.

I mean the pregnancy might go some way to prepare you for the sleep deprivation I guess but there is this massive shift in your reality that starts the day your baby is born that is rather indescribable. 

My favourite Ryan Reynolds quote sums up some of this quite perfectly. All of the feelings you have for anyone (including yourself) suddenly take a back seat to this precious bundle of joy.

I was no stranger to changing nappies or soft plays or even making up milk before I had Martin but it was a completely new level of exhaustion and overwhelm.

I bang on a lot about the 'mental load' of a mother (or a carer) because it's something I find even more exhausting than a colicy baby. The worry about safe sleeping arrangements, correct feeding levels, burping, car seat safety, nap times, developmental leaps, using the right baby products, giving them "tummy time' and everything else they might need never goes away. 

I can't help but notice though that the programmes we see on TV could use a little more reality to them when a new baby comes along. Do you remember when Rachel had a baby in Friends? After an episode or two showing Rachel with natural make-up and a couple of baggy t-shirts she bounced right back into being uber glam. And her life changed in no way shape or form except the coffee cup in her hand was often replaced by a car seat. Oh and they hired a nanny! (Great episode though!)

Similarly in 'The Big Bang Theory' the baby Bernadette and Howard have actually doesn't appear on camera, they both continue to lead their social lives with the only adjustment being a little white baby monitor on the coffee table. 

Babies don't just slide effortlessly into our lives. They consume our thoughts, capture our hearts and take us to the brink of madness and back! 

Would we have it any other way?

Monday, August 12, 2019

The C-Word

It's no good telling me its too early for Christmas!
I mean in all fairness I bought my Christmas crackers in January so you're not going to get through to me!
But lots of Christmas events are already open for booking and some are even full! 
So I'm going to share with you what I've already got booked this year...

1) The Grinch at the Showroom Theatre

Martin LOVES the Grinch and watches it all year round so when I saw this event on North East Family Fun's facebook I booked up straight away! It's a screening of the film with an added milkshake and cookie with a visit from the Grinch himself. For £10 pp it's not badly priced at all and I'm going to get the train in and see Fenwicks window to make a day of it (and possibly book Santa on the rooftop too if we can!) 
Fenwicks Window 2017

2) Centerparcs Winter Wonderland

I'm actually going to write a whole post on my love for Centerparcs! But I've always wanted to do winter wonderland and I'm really excited that we'll be able to see it this year! I got the deal earlier in the year (it's since gone up by over £100 so worth booking early) and I was able to book a trip to Santa's grotto last month for £16. There are lots of other activities to book but Martin is happy enough to swim all day which is FREE. 

Centerparcs earlier this year.

3) Pizza making with Santa

I'm always on the look-out for different Christmas events to keep it interesting for the whole month and this was right up our street last year at the Newcastle Airport Hilton.
For £12.95 per child the visit includes a pizza they can make themselves along with a drink, a disco and visit from Santa (who of course gives you a selection box!) 

There are prizes for dancing and Martin got WELL into this last year! I took my two nieces too and it was a hit with all of them. There is a simple adults menu to order food from and last year I ordered a delicious turkey sandwich with roast potatoes and gravy! 

Pizza Making with Santa 2018
If you've got any recommendations for anything else we should be doing please comment below!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Our stay at Bannatynes Darlington

Let me start by saying this is in no way an ad! My friend Charlotte and I booked a stay at Bannatynes Darlington to celebrate our birthdays which are within two weeks of each other. 

We saw a half price offer on Facebook and jumped at the chance. I knew the place was nice as I have been on several lovely spa days and held my husband's surprise 40th here last year. (In hindsight if I knew we were going to split up perhaps I wouldn't have gone to so much effort!) 

We paid £169 for a "Relaxing Retreat Spa Break" which included an overnight stay, a 2-course meal, breakfast and 40 minutes of spa treatments each with use of the facilities. 

We arrived at the hotel (on Charlottes actual birthday) and had a lovely warm greeting from the reception desk. Check in was swift and we had been upgraded to an executive room. 

On arrival to the room we noticed that they had out some birthday treats in along with a hand written card which I thought was a lovely touch! 

We headed down to dinner and got another warm welcome from the team in the restaurant. I ordered the chicken satay skewers and they were lovely. Then I opted for the fish and chips which in all honesty were the best of my life! The cocktails were lovely accompaniment (highly recommend the Jam sour!) 

Jam Sour
Being two tired mums to young children we crashed out in the room fairly quickly after dinner! 
Breakfast the next morning was equally delicious! On quieter days the hotel offers a plated hot breakfast which is cooked to order and you can help yourself to continental options while you wait. 

With breakfast done we headed over to the spa which is just a few minutes down the road and were given a full tour of the facilities before we went off to change into our robes. The pool isn't what I would call a leisure pool but on a spa day we are definitely more interested in the hot tub which is lovely! 

My favourite part of the spa experience is probably the relaxation room. How often do you get to lie around and do absolutely nothing? 

The relaxation room.

I enjoyed a back, neck and shoulder massage followed by a scalp massage and it was just an absolute treat! It was a bit of a warm day so we sat in the cafe and had a cold smoothie before reluctantly heading home. 

Smoothie Time

Because we got the deal on special offer I felt it was brilliant value but also wouldn't be opposed to paying full price as we had such a good time. Thank you to all the staff at both the Bannatyne Hotel and the Spa, we'll be back!

Smoke and Mirrors...

There is so much pressure these days to look good on Social Media (and I should know, I do it for a living!) Getting that perfect pictu...