May 2018

“It’s August! This year is flying by, isn’t it?!

Now that some areas of my life are starting to calm down, or maybe just get more settled, I decided that it was time to re-start this journal/blog/therapy, whatever you want to call it.”

This is what I wrote 9 months ago when I was determined to find time to write again… Since then there has been zero activity – well at least not here! Elsewhere there has been PLENTY! I read the words “Now that some areas of my life are starting to calm down” and had a little chuckle to myself…

New Challenges

So what has been going on for the last nine months, and why do I start writing again now? I haven’t had a baby or anything silly like that. Well, not a human one. I’ve had a digital one! My new business finally launches this month and I couldn’t be more excited. It has taken a year of development, money, stress and shifting goalposts but we are finally there.

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Check it out here

Family & Friends

Ah, the real reason for me writing here again… My girls. I don’t just mean my children, I mean all my girls. Family and friends who are inspiring me every single day.

The wee ones have been adamant that they want to start their own YouTube channel for a while now. I’ve not had the time or the energy but have finally relented! It won’t be pretty as my video editing skills are less than zero, but hey, we’ve got to start somewhere.

Millie is also keen to start writing too, she’s joined a book club and she loves writing reviews, so we’re going to set up a book and film review section for her and Ella to give their opinions on the things that really matter. Like Harry Potter and The Greatest Showman. Oh, and places that we go adventuring.

As for the older girls in my life, I’ve seen some incredible bravery being shown in the face of some major life curveballs, also quiet demons being faced and fought. Some don’t want to share, some do. It can be so therapeutic to write, so here this is a place for them to do just that. Who knows where it will take us, but expect thoughts and tales from age 9 up. The stories we share might be hard to read, they might be inspiring, funny, emotional or questioning, but they all share this: they are true and are what women and girls go through every day.

*** Takes Deep Breath ***

Health & Wellbeing

I’ll write more about this in a separate post, but this month marks the start of a pretty major life shift for me. The sun has come out and I can finally get a bit of clarity. The doc reckons I have to have my medication permanently managed to deal with the changing daylight levels, I think that if I change my lifestyle for the better then I can hopefully escape the constant cycle of 20mg, 10mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg…

I have great support at my second favourite place – Strength & Performance – so with a good dollop of determination and willpower, I will get there! Oh, and I’ll have a waist again…

Image Credit: Emily Quinton – http://www.makelight.com – find her on Instagram here 🌸

 

A Fresh Start

It’s August! This year is flying by, isn’t it?!

Now that some areas of my life are starting to calm down, or maybe just get more settled, I decided that it was time to re-start this journal/blog/therapy, whatever you want to call it. There are a few reasons for this.

I ❤️ Digital Mums!

The first is undoubtedly thanks to my fabulous experience so far with Digital Mums.

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They are currently running a fantastic campaign called #CleanUpTheFWord – all about changing the the culture around flexible working in the UK and to “stop it being seen as a dirty word or an employee perk”. Get involved! Sign the petition here.

Anyway, I digress. I started their Social Media Management Course back in March. My original campaign was a foodie campaign that I was running with my girls to promote healthy eating and lifestyle for children. I switched to a different campaign about 8 weeks in as I decided to start a new business, more of that later… However, Millie and Ella really wanted to carry on the foodie campaign. As I can’t fit in three blogs, as well as actual real life, we decided to re-engage That Girl Thing as the platform for them to start writing, sharing and generally getting involved.

I’m well aware of the dangers of over exposure to young girls, so all their content (and what they are allowed to watch and for how long) will be fully monitored by me and their Dad. The way I see it, they are going to eventually get sucked into the world of social media whether we like it or not, so they might as well go in with their eyes open, knowing all about the dangers and delights shining back out from their screens.

The second reason is down to confidence.

As I mentioned before, I have also decided to take the massive leap of faith and start my own business again. It’s back in the world of weddings where I once owned a very beautiful bridal shop, but this time on the other side of the screen. I’m setting up an online marketplace for bridal retailers to sell their sample stock online. High stock value is a massive problem within the bridal industry, and one that needs fixing. Hopefully my new venture will be the answer! Before joining Digital Mums I never would’ve had the confidence to do this, now on a wing and a prayer it’s happening!

What does this have to do with That Girl Thing? Well, this journal is, in part, a way for me to track my emotional levels throughout the year. Right now I’m confident, full of energy and positivity. Things are looking up! My good friend Adele Hartshorn is a life coach  and she suggests setting interim goals to break down the bigger picture. Weekly, monthly, every three months etc. So I’ve decided to make myself accountable. I’m going to set myself monthly goals and diarise them here. I definitely think that bringing method and madness together has some merit, so thanks for that Adele. To find out more about her work here.

Finally, accountability. There’s that word again.

I’ve recently been introduced to a gym. Not just any old gym, but Strength and Performance.

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This is a ‘proper’ gym. Not your half-arsed, ‘let’s take a quick selfie while I pretend to sweat’ kind of gym. These guys have got your back. Their main aim is to make members be accountable for their fitness journey and the successes or failures along the way. Nutrition is logged, sessions are led and monitored by the incredible team of coaches and the community that they have built there is truly inspiring. I’ll be writing a post about my 30 day introduction to S&P later in the week, for now just know that their approach to progress has rubbled off and I’m making myself accountable. Follow my monthly journals for goals, successes and failures – both of which there’ll be plenty I’m sure.

Goals for this month:

1 // Enjoy a holiday to France with my bestie and all of our children without any drama. Easy.

2 // Manage my time effectively to keep up-to-date with my DMs course and business launch timeline.

3 // Keep on enjoying my S&P journey, and lose another dress size.

Peace.

LB Xx

📷 Header image credit: Emily Quinton, Makelight.

NB // If you don’t know about Emily and Makelight yet, you should! She is the QUEEN of pretty and she’s also a fab teacher. Check out her website here.

Goals – January 2017

2016 had its ups and downs, generally a year of not much personal growth or development. High points were delivering a rocking opening night at my ex-place of work, buying a house and, in June, celebrating a year of amicable separation and co-parenting. Low points were having to pull out of Tough Mudder due to injury, arguing with the ExOH towards the end of the year and the mid-December realisation that I’m still coasting through life with no strong direction.

January 2017 so far has followed a similar pattern as 2016. Generally winging it through the chaos with no clear direction, polished off with a good guzzle of wine at the end of the day. What I don’t want to do is reach my birthday in mid-December, and again have that sinking feeling that yet another year has passed and I’m still in the same place. So, it’s time to change things up a bit. So, what are my goals for this year?

Family

Family comes first. Since our separation, the ExOH and I have worked hard to maintain our amicable co-parenting relationship. Things are changing now as he has a new lady in his life. I’ll be honest, it’s not been the smoothest of introductions, so this year’s challenge will be to manage this new dynamic in our lives, without causing friction or, more importantly, confusion or displacement for the children.

Oh, and we need to get divorced at some point.

I am also going to up my parenting game. At the end of last year I felt that the girls had not had the best of me at all. Homework had been missed, in favour of trips to the park. Playdates hadn’t been arranged, because my house was always so full of stuff. Bedtimes had been late because I favoured cuddle time on the sofa. I figured if I was only going to see them for half of the week, I was going to make sure it was fun time. I was a selfish parent. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t suffer. We had a great time! But this year the focus will be on what’s good for them, and not me.

Career

This year I want to focus on growing myself a new business. It’s always going to be a tricky one as I have two children and an ExOH with his own business. As their mother, I feel like I need to be the one to give them the stability and care that they need. So I’m looking for #workthatworks, and I’m contemplating taking on the Digital Mums course to boost my credentials. If it’s going to help me build something that I can do to fit around my life as a parent, then that’s a winner for me.

The year starts with a business project with a friend of mine, building their brand and helping launch their new business. How much of a part of it I will become as the project continues is currently unknown. But for now, it’s looking good!

Home

My house is currently a bit of a shambles. I was granted planning to extend it just before Christmas. So this year, I’m part building project manager too! At the end of it I will have a fabulous great big kitchen which, after two years of attempting to cook in a cupboard I can’t flipping’ wait! Pinterest goals all over it… The challenge lies in living through the mess in an organised way with as little disruption as possible to the girls. Wish me luck!

Health

Well, first of all, I want to shift the extra pounds I put on due to aforementioned injury and lack of exercise. So, I’ve entered the Wilmslow Half Marathon. Nothing like a challenge to get me motivated! It’s 8 weeks today and I’m terrified. I can currently run about 3 miles before I’m done in! Gulp. 18lbs and a hell of a lot of training to go…

I’m also going to address The Wine Problem. I, like many other parents I know, am more than happy to get stuck into a bottle of wine of an evening. It’s a widely known fact that alcohol and depression are not happy bedfellows. If I’m ever going to quash my nemesis, then the wine has to be significantly reduced. A necessary evil.

Friends

I have an amazing group of friends. We are all very busy with children, babies, jobs and businesses and it’s difficult to see each other a lot. After years of not being able to have them around for dinner (In the large part due to my ExOH not being very sociable, more recently due to my cupboard-sized kitchen(s) and teeny tiny house situation), I want to build my kitchen and be proud to have them all around for a party – in six months time I’m hoping there will be lots to celebrate!

 

 

Dating – The Story So Far: Part 3

 

Dating, the story so far : Part 3

So after The Beast, I started to feel a little bit more positive about meeting someone. He had been funny, smart and a total gentleman, well, most of the time…

After some wine, one summer evening, I was chatting with a friend and we decided to set me up a Plenty of Fish account.

Plenty of Fish is a bit like the Tesco of online dating. One site fits all.

I was apprehensive at first, after my first attempt at this internet dating game went so badly, but thought, what the hell…

POF is a minefield of tattooed biceps, ripped torsos, cyber dweebs and guys who have zero idea of what a good photograph looks like, bless ’em. They lie about their age, occupation, marital status; the works. Or so I have learned.

But I digress. I thought, I’ll take this with pinch of salt, let’s just see what happens. I had loads of messages – I was the obvious newbie.

After what felt like hours of reading though messages, and studiously getting back to prospective suitors (you do not need to do this, just delete them, no one will be offended so I found out), I whittled them down to a couple of potential beaus.

There was the wayward business owner, Paul, and the investment entrepreneur, Anthony.

Paul looked like a fun-loving guy. He had two kids, tick.  His profile showed lots of larking around and general mayhem, tick. He could spell, tick. Why wouldn’t I go out with a guy like that? He loved to talk about his many weird and wonderful experiences of digital dating, it was interesting to hear the other side of the story. When we met, he was charming and interesting. Less handsome in real life if I’m being brutally honest, but he was kind and funny which is far more important in my book. Anyway, we had a couple of drinks and parted ways with date two arranged for a few days later. And thats when it changed. The jovial banter was replaced by some serious sex chat, I mean eye-watering stuff. I went along with it for a bit as it was quite entertaining, and I was a bit bored. Then he recorded himself having a wank and sent me the audio. And that was the end of that.

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And then there was Anthony. My date with Anthony is what I suspect most people use Tinder for. We had been chatting for a few days and he seemed like a very intelligent chap. He was fit, really beyond buff fit. Think Adonis. And he had money, a self made millionaire. Now I’ve never been out with anyone like that before, I’d feel way too self conscious and under-achieving. However, I’d had a pretty rough day at work and we were chatting away on whatsapp when he suggested I come and meet him for a drink to cheer me up. It was about 10pm and I had had some wine at this point. That’s no excuse for what I did, but it did help. God, I hope my parents don’t read this…

He said, “I’m calling you a cab, get in it and we’ll go for dinner”.

{Safety Tip: This is what you definitely do not do}

I still can’t believe I actually trusted him enough to drag myself off the sofa, get ready, get in his cab, drive to Manchester and meet a total stranger. As it happens it was fine. We had a lovely time drinking champagne and nibbling on canapés. The staff were closing up around us, it was actually quite romantic. I’ll spare you the details of what happened next, but it involved a very expensive hotel room and the most outrageous walk of shame the next day…

 

Dating – The Story So Far : Part 1

So, it all began back in January…

After months of badgering from the girl gang, I joined the weird and wonderful world of online dating. I was NOT talking the likes of Tinder, Plenty of Fish etc, but a ‘grown up’ dating site. So off I trotted to match.com. Before long, I met a guy called Mark*. Mark was a witty, chatty kinda chap who sent me little quizzes so we could get to know each other. Pretty tame stuff:

Batman or Superman?
Favourite holiday destination?
Cats or Dogs?

You get the picture. This went on for a few days, then, he gained my trust and I gave him my number. And, it appears, that’s where things in this game change. The air quickly turned blue. We were now discussing sexual positions, domination and S&M.

So, you’d think I’d terminate the conversation at this point, but NO! Muggins here decided it would be fun to meet this guy!! The rest of the people on match.com were pretty uninspiring, so I thought ‘why that hell not?’. He was attractive, had a similar backstory to me, I’ll give hime the benefit of the doubt. I was new to this after all.

I was safe, followed the rules.

Meet in a public place.
Tell someone where you are going.
Find out real name of online dating avatar.

So, I walked nervously to the bar that we had arranged to meet in. It was in my hometown where I know a lot of people. The bar was packed full of recognisable faces and a feeling of dread came over me. What happens if I’m bringing a total weirdo into my personal space, and everybody sees?? I’d be devastated to be embarrassed in front of loads of people who I know. What happens if he is 65, with a greasy combover and a long mac? I quickly dashed away from the door and messaged him to change venue. And then I heard my name, he was in front of me; 6’2”, dark, brooding and handsome. As I looked up he was 5” from me and planted a smacker right on my lips, tongue and all! Um, OK. That was unexpected…

So after the strangest ‘hello’ I’ve ever had, I explained that I wanted to go elsewhere and suggested a bar in the next town along. A very quiet bar with no one else in it. We chatted, and had a couple of drinks. It turned out that he was far more confident talking dirty on whatsapp than he was face to face. We didn’t have very much in common and it was excruciatingly awkward. After a long couple of hours, we walked back to his car (yep, broke that rule), did a bit more uninspiring kissing (I’m not sure why, I guess I felt obliged?) and then he dropped me off at home. And didn’t come in.

match.com was sacked, and so was online dating.

NB. *Names have been changed