Solo Parenting: Highs and Lows

I absolutely hate the term "single mum". I hate my marital status being linked to my role as a parent....especially as I am now not single. I much prefer the term "solo parenting".
I've been thinking a lot about the highs and lows of solo parenting recently. I almost called this "the good and the bad" but I really disliked using the word "bad" when it came to parenting. I didn't want to put that label on myself, on my relationship with my children, or on them.



I like that I am in control of how I parent when the children are with me. I think part of what made me and their dad clash towards the end of our relationship was that we parented differently.
Being apart means we can both parent in our own ways and thankfully I never get "Well Daddy says...." or "Daddy lets us...."
I like being able to decide if they can have a late night when at my house, or how I want to do their bedtime routine (which seems to always change so routine is the wrong word to use).
I feel like, although it can be really really hard, I am a lot more relaxed because of my control.



You know those days when your children are just "on one"? When they have it set in their minds that everything they do will be exactly what you don't want them to do? When everything you ask them to do is replied with a "no" or a "buuuut"?
Those are the days when I find solo parenting tricky because I feel as though I would be stronger if I had that support behind me. Someone to come along and back me up.
I don't like being a shouty parent but it's unavoidable a lot of the time when I am at battle.
This is also very much needed when there are days you are poorly. I feel sort of lucky that my boys will be understanding sometimes when I am ill....but still like to push the buttons. I tend to find switching on the tears helps.



As well as being a low support is also a high. Because when you become a solo parent you discover those around you who will help and who are there for you. People who were always there before and step up even more to be your support and hold you up. Friends who enter your life and immediately place themselves in that vacant role. 



I think that maybe I am a different breed to other mothers because I enjoy my time when the boys are at their dads. Before I was in a relationship with my boyfriend I still enjoyed those days. Sometimes I miss them, sometimes I don't. But I find for me that it's good to have that time to myself. It's good for us when we are reunited on the school run or when they are dropped off or I pick them up. 
I feel like us having a break from each other really works for our relationship. I treasure my time with them a lot more because it is limited, however if I ever want them extra days or I do really have the urge to see them their dad is accommodating and we will swap days or allow the other one to have them extra. 
It is definitely good for my mental health to have time away to breathe and to just be me for a while.



Possibly a little harsh but along the same lines with 'time' I love having my freedom. 
I think the fact I was a housewife for six and a half years and pretty much dedicated my whole life to my family has made me crave for that time to myself and for that freedom.
I look forward to my weekends without the children, to my evenings to myself and to any plans I have without them. 
I find it really important to still be 'Lauren' and these are the times I am her. When I am with the boys I am 'mum' and I definitely need that time to be me. When I have the children I won't get a babysitter if a friend wants to go out so I am dedicated and strict with those times. For example, I didn't go to my works Christmas do last year because my ex had plans and it was my weekend with the children. Despite my mum offering to babysit I didn't want her to, those days are my days and with limited weekends with them I'd rather focus on them. I actually didn't regret that decision and or feel any feelings of missing out.



I think part of me putting weight on again is due to not being able to have time to get into the same sort of fitness routine I was in before. Every night I was able to go on a 5 mile walk because I had someone to watch the boys, whereas now I don't have that. I've struggled to get into any kind of routine. 

There are obviously a few more in terms of money, and so on but ultimately...my biggest high is looking at those boys and knowing that despite everything I am doing a good job. That despite our tough days I am raising two boys who are kind, have good hearts who are loved and know how to love. 
And who are as proud of me as I am of them. 



January 2018 Lust List

I really enjoyed doing my Lust Lists every month last year so really wanted to do them again this year.

I used to stick to a theme of two chosen lusts each month...however this month I have been lusting over a lot more.

Firstly, I know I've mentioned it a lot already but with two holidays abroad this year and a recent clear out of my bag collection I wanted a beach bag just to stick towels in and essentials. This is mainly for Fuerteventura but also will be handy to keep in the rental car when we go to Cyprus.
Below are a few that I found and fell in love with.
Spoiler...I bought the Vacay bag in the sale for just £5!
I want to get my sleeve finished this year and with two clear ideas to fill up the space I searched Pinterest for flower tattoos initially. I need one to fill the space at the top of my sleeve just above my teacup and next to my Russian Doll. I felt like a flower would be the prettiest option especially one which isn't too fussy and is quite subtle with colours.

For a while I have wanted a pig and a tortoise tattoo. With the arrival of my tortoises into our family I am now set on the tortoise tattoo being part of my sleeve. I do love the mish-mash of all of my tattoos but also how they all fit my life and my story which brings them perfectly together.



The Material Aspects of Ending a Long-Term Relationship

Breaking up with someone is never easy, and the situation can get even messier when you’ve been together for a long time for various reasons. It’s not just the emotional side of things either – you also have to deal with various logistical issues that can make things even more complicated. When you’ve made the difficult decision to pull the plug on the relationship, you must be prepared to deal with the additional issues that will present themselves almost immediately. Having a contingency plan for this is never a bad idea, even if you’re feeling confident and happy in your current relationship.
Organize Possessions Now, Before It’s Too Late
A long-term relationship usually means sharing many physical assets, exchanging things of value and other similar acts. This can make things very messy when you need to break up, especially if you realize that half of your prized possessions are in the other person’s apartment.
It’s not any easier when you consider the opposite option either, as having to return items of value means having to get in direct contact with the person you’ve just broken up with. Opening fresh wounds is far from a good idea when dealing with a situation like this, so make sure that you deal with any items that might have to be exchanged as soon as possible. Even that old hoodie of yours can cause a surprising amount of problems.
Take Care of the Financial Matters
If the relationship was even more serious, you might be looking at things like shared bank accounts and other financial assets. This is where things can get really complicated, and knowing how to close a joint bank account well in advance can save you from a lot of headache.
Some banks can make the process slightly more difficult than others, but the standard procedure is always the same. Knowing how it goes can never hurt, especially if you have a larger number of assets that you share with your significant other.
Cancel Any Subscriptions You Use Together
And on that note, you should also think about smaller details like your Netflix account, Spotify subscription, and so on. Couples share these all the time, and it’s often understandable that the main owner of the account is going to want to keep using it for themselves after the relationship is over, but it’s good to communicate this in advance.
In some cases you have no choice – such as if the account is in the name of one person, but the other is paying the subscription bill. You’ll need to ensure that there is no confusion over who gets to continue using the account, which can get a bit more complicated if both partners want to retain their customized profiles or something along those lines.

People usually don’t look at the material aspect of ending a relationship until they actually have to deal with that, and by that time, it’s much more difficult to get an objective overview of the situation and act calmly. Familiarizing yourself with the common details that you’ll have to face is not being selfish, it’s just a sensible thing to do.

Treatments for damaged skin

It doesn't matter how vain you are, or aren't, we all want to feel confident when it comes to our skin. 
Throughout our lives our skin is affected by so much in terms of pubity, hormones, stress, diet and even weather, that there's no surprise some of us suffer with complaints and issues. 

Although it's easy to say that you can take care of your skin by keeping to a strict skincare regime it's not necessarily something you can control or prevent.

There are various treatments available when it comes to bad skin. 

Gels, creams and lotions

There are a few lotions, creams and gels available from a chemist or through prescription. However, creams such as Sudocrem are a wonderful way of treating acne and spot flared skin. Sudocrem can heel and soothe the skin as well as protecting the skin from further infection.
Image result for sudocrem

Hormonal therapies

Some GPs will prescribe the combined oral contraceptive pill. This helps to control hormones which can be the cause of bad skin/acne. 

Lifestyle changes

There are various lifestyle changes that can reduce acne reduced skin. Limiting dairy intake, fewer refined carbs will make a difference, as will increasing intake of probiotics, zinc and omega-3.

Acne scar removal

Covering scarred skin with make up can draw attention to the area and also make the skin worse or flare up any sores. Acne scar removal is worth looking into for long term cures when it comes to clearing the skin. Click here for more information.



My Word for 2018

Although I've always liked the idea of having a certain word to live by and to influence your life and help guide you I'd never really managed to pin a word down really and felt I tried to hard.

Whilst writing other posts which revolve around looking back at this year and looking forward to next year one word kept jumping into my mind and I gathered it was for a reason. 

That word is...

It is safe, and somewhat shameful, to say that the last year or so I have been incredibly lazy. I have buried my head in the sand about a lot of things and let my life, my surroundings and everything else get a bit messy.
I have no real routine in any area of my life and I think that it not only affects how I live but obviously affects the boys too.

And I need to change that.

So my word and my focus for this year is going to be routine.
To start I am going to have a massive declutter and sort out in my house. I feel this way I will be able to keep up with a simple and easy cleaning routine and won't let everything build up as it does right now.

I don't use my time wisely or make full use of my time at all, I put things off and small jobs become bigger and bigger until it almost becomes unmanageable. And lets face it, people manage to keep houses clean and tidy easily so I am seriously lacking in house and life management.

It's now the 17th of January and so far I have failed at this word. 
My house is at the unmanageable phase....which is great seeing as I have a house inspection today and now have to have a mad panic tidy. 

However, yesterday I did a big food shop. Rather than a grocery order online I went to the supermarket and made sure I really shopped around. I do find that I spend less most of the time when I actually go to a supermarket...this isn't always the case but I had a clear idea of what I needed and for the first time in two years I actually have cupboards full of essentials and a freezer full of essentials too. 
I love having things in that I can just throw into a pan and make a quick, healthy dinner and for so long I haven't done that. Instead opting for takeaway. 
I think doing my shopping how I have will help me to stay on top of meal plans and to cook my own meals, and to continue having big food shops rather than the odd food shop every night.

Today I will tackle my bedroom and I am determined to stay on top of it. I will have a full declutter, throwing away unnecessary crap that I really don't need.

Cleaning and tidying is probably top of my list to sort and I will set myself the promise of putting together a cleaning plan. 

I also want to set myself a routine when it comes to mediation, doing my Oracle cards and looking after myself. 
The gym has completely gone on the back burner recently....which is awful to be honest.

If I arrange my life a little better I will create more time to blog, read and generally live a better life.

I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, but I do know I am lazy and I do need to change my ways. 



Little Loves #2

I used to religiously join in with Little Loves and then when my blog unexpectedly took a back seat in my life I ended up losing track. One of my plans for this year is to put a little more time and love into my blog again and joining in with this linkie is an absolute must.


I went through my Pinterest boards this week as I wanted to complete my Affirmations for 2018 post.
I think Pinterest is ideal when it comes to needing calm in your life and getting inspiration.


I finally got round to watching the fourth season of Black Mirror. I have to admit...although I liked them I wasn't as taken as I was by the first or second series, which I think were by far the best.
My favourite, and the episode I suppose I related to quite a lot, was the fourth about the couple dating. I found it really interesting and thought provoking.
I've also been watching Celebrity Big Brother when I've had time. I've found it really interesting.
I'm not such a fan of the "Year of the Woman" theme and I agreed with Anne Widdicombe when she said she didn't like that these daily tasks had been taken away from them as we [women in general] are perfectly capable of doing those jobs without the help of a man.
I have also surprised myself by really liking Shane/Courtney. I love his attitude and how calm he is during a debate and how he won't get angry and does put his point across and really challenge any out of date or ridiculous attitudes.


I absolutely love Post Malone. I've been listening to his album and it is amazing. 
Rockstar is one of my favourites. Only watch the video if you aren't offended by swearing...it's also a little gruesome. 


Short and sweet for this one. I made THE BEST lasagne I've ever made this week. I always do my lasagne in the slow cooker and this one by far was the best I've ever made. I was impressed and even better, so were the boys...and my boyfriend. Winner!


It was nail day on Wednesday! I have been getting my nails done for a year now, which for a previous nail biter is amazing. 
It is a luxury I know but I do feel like it has done me good and I know that without having them done I would still be biting my nails and having disgusting sore fingers constantly. 
I am completely indecisive when it comes to colours usually but this time knew I wanted something metallic. I am obsessed with these. 

And lastly...

My best friend is getting married this year in Cyprus. I have offered to throw a "Bridal Shower", a term I hate but I guess that's what it is, in my garden. I'm really excited and have already started to plan it.
I wanted to do it for everyone to be able to get together, in particular the people who won't be going to the hen weekend. 
Again, I headed to Pinterest straight away to look at ideas and get inspiration. I'm going to be posting about my ideas and everything on my blog and stalking Pinterest like a manic woman every day.



Decor ideas to make a family room perfect

Apart from the bedrooms, your family are most likely to spend more time in your living room than anywhere else in the home. Maybe older children will have a console in a dedicated games room, but the living area is the most social place you have and it needs to work well for everyone.

The cares of the modern world should be set aside when the family come home from work or school, so a relaxing and comfortable living area is a real asset, helping everyone with the process of winding down.

So what should you consider when aiming to make your family room perfect?

Comfortable seating

There's nothing worse than not having enough seating in the living room for the family as well as some for guests. Okay, to be fair there are probably a lot of worse things, but your seating arrangements are key to people feeling relaxed. Using deep sofas with well-padded seats and some squishy cushions is more likely to encourage family members to settle down together rather than heading off to their rooms. Leather chairs and sofas can stretch the budget, but they are hardwearing and easy to wipe clean.

You can use linen or woollen throws to soften the room visually, and a thick, high-quality carpet or rugs can give your space a comfortable and inviting feel. If you're pushed for space for seating add in a leather pouffe or two or beanbags for the youngsters, and if you have room why not think about a loveseat, something that is a little bit different and very stylish.

Colours and window dressings

Colour is key to making your living space a light and attractive place for everyone to gather. You can use bold colours in other areas if you're so minded but a more neutral paint colour brings a sleek feeling to the living room, so look at trying off-white with some gentle blues or greens. Look for durable paint that you can easily wipe clean.

Standalone uplighters and downlighters can create pools of light where you want them, and recessed LEDs in the ceiling that can be dimmed help to create a pleasing atmosphere. Strategically placed spotlights can be used to illuminate favourite pieces of artwork or much-loved family photographs.

When it comes to windows, you may be used to dressing them with curtains. They can certainly be attractive, but unless they are relatively plain, they can appear fussy and possibly overpowering for the clean, clear lines you want to establish. One option to consider is using shutters, especially high-quality ones made of wood. DIY shutters enhance the clean lines of your room and are easy to install and maintain. They can be designed to fit all types of windows, so you get a tailor-made solution, and they let in as much or as little light as required at different times of day.

Many shutters have louvres you can open and close giving you even more control of the light coming into a room. They also provide additional insulation during the colder months of the year. A large range of materials and colours is available.

Child-friendly play area

Children love to have the opportunity to play and if you have enough space to be able to set aside an area for them in your living room you're encouraging them to be with the family. A simple table in one part of the room, maybe with some board games or a deck or two of cards, is a simple solution to children being creative and imaginative, and you can always be on hand from time to time to participate. Opportunities to draw with crayons are another useful way of stimulating creative play, but do be wary of paint!


Look at your options for storage space early on – many rooms just don't have enough. For children, you need somewhere for them to put away their toys, so the room doesn't get turned into one gigantic play area, and you'll also want places to put your books and ornaments for display.

Be imaginative

If you take the time to think through your ideas for a perfect family room, you can draw up a plan of work that you can gradually implement if you can't afford to do all at once. Your aim is to make a great family living space, so be imaginative and create something exceptional.



Dear 2018

I wrote a post titled this in 2016 and then failed to do one for 2017 which was a little frustrating as I had it sat, unfinished, in drafts for quite a while.

I sat down to write this post a few times, but didn't get anywhere. Clearly not in the right frame of mind.
Today I sat and opened my laptop and new what to write, a clear vision. As I think forward to the year I know it will be different to the last two.
I am seeing in the year not only as myself. As a mother. Daughter. Twin. But also as a girlfriend. And being part of someone else has given me the clarity to know what I want from the year.
My expectations and my wishes.

I found that instead of thinking of particular aspects of the year I had words that came into mind, and these helped me to focus on how I want my year to be, and my expectations of you.

I want you to give me the most amazing, beautiful memories. Memories that I can share with my boyfriend, my children, my mother, my brother, my best friend.
Memories full of love, laughter, happiness and smiles.
I have these ideas and expectations of the year and I would love for them to become a reality.

I want to have the strength to continue becoming the best version of myself. Over the last few years I am learning to put myself first in certain situations. Other people will always be my priority, because that is the kind of person I am, however I am learning too that I also deserve to be a priority.

I feel like I am seeing the year in with a new found confidence and clearer vision for who and what I believe in.
When it comes to religion I feel some are easier to be open about due to understanding. Being a spiritual person and believing in Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides, believing there are people around me at all times, in having people who I don't know coming through to me. Believing in Oracle Cards and how they are beneficial to me in life right now and going forward.
I want the strength to be confident with my religion and with my beliefs.
To continue my growth and to build my knowledge on my current beliefs and seeing which areas of other religions I can bring in to make me live the best life I can.

2018, I want to have faith in every area of my life. To no longer doubt certain aspects, certain decisions, people and most importantly....myself.
I want to have faith in all of that.
I know right now that I am so much better than I ever have been. I am stronger, more trusting and have a lot more determination than ever to do life right.

I know that having that special someone enter my life last year planted that seed of having faith in everything and for that I am grateful.

So 2018, please give me the strength, growth, confidence and knowledge to have faith in myself and in my life. And to have faith in the year. And to make the best memories I can for myself and my family.



Affirmations for 2018

Other than following and sticking with my Promises for 2018 I also want to live by certain affirmations.

One thing I am proud of is that as I have gotten older I have become stronger as a person. I still have a long way to go and last year we got a new manager at work and she has helped to support me and to make me realise my worth. She has a lot of patience with me and seems to understand me and how my head works. 

4 or 5 years ago I followed the rule of "Do I deserve this?" in terms of how people treated me. If someone was a particular way with me I would sit and ask myself that initially and then base my reaction on that answer.
Last year I forgot to do that and as a result made myself ill by accepting the way people spoke to me and treated me. 

This year I have reminded myself, along with the help from my manager, to ask that question. 

Along with that I want to follow other rules and affirmations. I want to live a positive, reduced stress life this year and put a lot more focus on me than on others.



Five Things | Highlights of 2017



One of my highlights of 2016 was travelling and it's still something that makes me smile and is prominent when I look back.
This year, I have been lucky again to be able to add travelling to my highlights of the year.
Easter was spent in Somerset. We spent one day in Wales and came across a forest which was so beautiful. The ground was covered in Bluebells, like a full, thick carpet of purple flowers. It was absolutely stunning. If it wasn't for my boots rubbing we would have walked and explored a lot more so having to leave so I could go and buy some trainers instead has given me a good excuse to one day visit again.
We went to Glastonbury twice whilst we were there and I felt like it really cemented my interest in spirituality. I bought my first crystals, oracle cards and some incense sticks. We climbed up the Glastonbury Tor, me and my mum walking behind as the boys raced ahead with my brothers girlfriend and her dog. This holiday was the first time the boys had met Robyn and it was extra special for that reason. 
Obviously I went to the TT again this year, and whereas other years when I flew over this year I drove and got the ferry. It was a good experience, other than getting lost on the way to Liverpool due to Sat Nav and phone issues but nevertheless I got there and I felt brave for it. 
I went for two weeks this year which I was glad about as the weather was awful and had I only gone for one week I wouldn't have seen much racing at all. 
Having my car meant I had my own freedom so was able to go out and do my own thing a lot of the time. 
My brother made my experience even better this year, something which I doubt could be beaten, when he surprised me by arranging a meet up between me and Liam Beckett.
Liam Beckett is best friend and mechanic to Robert Dunlop and I had tweeted him previously to mention meeting him at the TT, thinking it would be more of a quick hello at the paddock. Instead my brother arranged for us to meet in a hospitality room and we stood and had a full chat with him, I cried...at him...a lot but in return had a lot of hugs and cuddles from him.
He is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. So warm and welcoming and it felt as though we were friends. He talked about Robert and Joey Dunlop (Robert being Michael and Williams dad and Joey being their uncle) who both died doing the sport, and I stood there in awe of how incredible this man is. My brother and his girlfriend had managed to sneak the book Liam wrote out of my tent for him to sign for me and we had photos taken, had more hugs and said goodbye.
Racing was going on as we met and although I felt frustrated at missing it, meeting Liam was well worth it. After we had said goodbye we managed to watch some of the race and to top the afternoon off Michael Dunlop won that race!!
Six words to sum up that experience...MY BROTHER IS BETTER THAN YOURS
With a work meeting in Peterborough I used it as an excuse to visit Hayley. Which is always perfectm but a longer trip is definitely required next year! 
I had a mini girls trip with my best friend again due to a work meeting in Bedford in November. A little bit of shopping, a nice dinner and then an unexpected early night was just what two mums needed.
In September I was spoilt rotten for my birthday as two of my best friends took me to Paris for a day. We stayed over night and then had a full day exploring the city. It was absolutely amazing and I felt incredibly lucky to be taken somewhere so beautiful and special.
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Mini Royals: Charles, Harry and Elizabeth

When I became friends with Amy last year I never knew what a big part of my life she would be. She was quickly promoted from friend, to best friend to Life Boss, and very rarely do I make decisions in life without running it past her first. 
Meeting her daughter was probably more nerve racking that meeting Amy outside of work...you know that moment, when you go from colleagues to actual friends, scary stuff! 
I get nervous meeting children, especially as young as Lizzie, as they are super honest and if they don't like you...they let you know.
I only met Lizzie the first time by chance, as I picked a key up from Amy's house but as you can see from the first photo, we quickly became best friends and I absolutely love that little girl. 
She then met the boys and they also adore her. She is the boss of them its safe to say and they try their best to protect her when they can...this is when they aren't fighting over her. 
It's funny to think of a two year old as a best friend but she is really special to me and such a big part of my life. Its amazing to watch her grow and to feel proud of her like I am with my own children.


Despite having two cats I had an urge to add to my cat family by rescuing a black cat. Forest has been the perfect addition to our family this year and although my outgoings when it comes to cat food is ridiculous now it is totally worth it. 
He managed to fit into our family perfectly and it feels like it was definitely meant to be.
Affectionate beyond belief, playful with a massive personality I have no ounce of regret in rehoming this special little cat.

Nails and Tattoos

This year I discovered the miracle of nail extensions and gel nails. 
My best friend/life boss asked me to go along with her in January and since then I have been hooked. As a nail biter (former but only because of now having nails) these were just what I needed to not only make my hands look feminine, to be presentable for work, but to also give me confidence.
More tattoos made my arm into a sleeve...with only a little bit of space left to work with, and my obsession with tattoos resulted in finger tattoos, an Isle of Man tribute in form of a fairy on my leg and matching tattoos with my best friend, including one on my ankle.
It's safe to say both nails and tattoos have made me more of who I am and have made me feel loads better as a person. 
I'm sure in 2018 these will feature even more.


For someone who is usually an over-sharer and not too private I actually feel really secretive and personal about this. Not like me at all. But one of my biggest highlights of the year was falling in love. In November I met someone who very quickly became a massive part of my life and I absolutely adore him. 
I believe in fate and there are other aspects of my faith I suppose that made me realise the first time that I spoke to him that he was meant to be in my life.
Falling in love with him initially was amazing and everyday, as I fall in love even more, it's the loveliest feeling. I am amazed by how comfortable and confident I feel around him.
He makes me excited about the future.

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