I said I’d do it, so I did…my first (and last) tattoo

I like to think that I’m one of those types of people who aren’t that easily irked by things people say or do, I just tend to avoid the ones that make me slightly twingy. But one quality, if you can call it that, which I will say gets me a little oh, here we go again’, are people who say they’re going to do something and clearly have no intention of doing it, you know the type; always banging on about I’m going to get a dog, I really want a dog, I’ve found the perfect dog.

No dog.

Or that big one;  I’m going to travel, I’ll be off in a few months, by the end of the year, and 2 years later it’s still the same. I’m not talking about dreams or ambitions, they’re different, I’m talking about empty promises which you soon realise are never going to happen.

Well, I made one of those promises 6 months ago, I promised myself I’d get a tattoo. Since the age of 14 I’d fancied a small one on my wrist, and I very nearly came close to getting one. Not a wrist one though, a Celtic cross on the centre of my back. Man am I glad I bottled it though if there’s one thing I have repeatedly told my children –  never get a tattoo in your teens. That’s one decision I made as an 18 year old which I will never regret (very out of character for me at the time!)

In the years that followed the tattoo parlour bottling incident  I never really considered getting a tattoo again. I had my belly button pierced which hurt like hell, and childbirth was an absolute killer, so I saw no point in voluntarily putting myself through any sort of pain.

But that all changed 6 months ago, when I looked back at how much I’d changed since my husband and I had separated, how much stronger and independent I’d become and I wanted to mark the transformation. What better way to show it that getting a small symbolic tattoo to mark the new me?

getting my first tattoo to make my divorce

And I knew just what I would get to mark said occasion.

Every day, over the last 2 years or so, I’ve seen a white feather. Often in the most obscure places, sometimes even floating down in front of me while I was in the car or walking the dog. A subtle reminder that my guardian angel was watching over me and that everything was going to be ok.

I’m not a big believer in the messages from the other side, I’ve had my tarot cards read and that’s about as far as my beliefs wen. But these sweet sightings were the highlights of my day.

I like to think it’s my grandad sending me a sign, I’m not sure why it’s him. My Nanny was much more upfront, more likely to give me a nudge or a tap, Nanna was a gentle soul but distance meant I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as I should have. I just have this feeling it’s my grandad.

A feather it was to be then.

Somewhere small, hidden but not in a place where age or weight gain would ravage it, the inside of my wrist seemed perfect and if I didn’t like it in years to come, I could cover it with a watch or bangle.

So off I trotted to the most modern, clean, friendly tattoo parlour I could find and less than an hour later I walked out with my new addition. It struck me on the way that I probably hadn’t given this enough though and it might hurt. I was once told I would never be able to endure the pain of a tattoo, my reply;

I’ve pushed 3 babies out my fanjo, I know I’m pretty sure I handle a small tattoo!

But I can honestly say it never hurt in the slightest, more a slight scratching sensation. The girl who inked me up was incredibly gentle so I guess I was just lucky?

So there, you go. That’s the time I said I’d do it, and I did. I got my first and last tattoo.

The perfect reminder I can handle more than people give me credit for!


The one where I told you I was no longer married

16 months ago I sat down and typed the hardest blog post I’ve ever had to write. I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing, sharing something so personal and painful, but I was certain I had to be truthful and honest with those who knew me or read my blog. For months I’d hid behind the pain of coming to terms with the end of my marriage and I realised it was harder pretending everything was normal than it would be admitting to everyone what was really going on.

Truth be told I thought I was so strong and independent as I declared how positive it would be, how my husband & I had tried to make it work and how we were putting our children first and creating 2 calm happy homes instead of 1 turbulent, tense driven sad little house. A house full of lies & fake smiles which eventually wore me down to a shell where learnt to put feelings aside and power on. Looking back now I can see how broken I was, I lived each day on autopilot, never planning too far ahead, pushing negativity aside. I was numb, life was something which happened around me.

But in that 16 months, I’ve realised that life is simply too short to settle for anything less than what you know will make you happy. I’d be lying if there weren’t moments when I was terrified of my future but not once did I regret filing for divorce. I knew my husband & I weren’t making each other happy, and I was more terrified of a future with him than without him.

I was lucky, my family and friends wrapped me up and supported me through. Not one person told me I’d done the wrong thing, they knew before I did that my marriage was over, but the guilt I felt for taking my children into the unknown was overwhelming. I’m still trying to work out if they’re ok with it all, as I’m sure they are too. I’m under no illusion that they’d rather not have to swap homes every other weekend but the alternative was so much worse.

But it’s time once again where I share, an update. My transition from Mrs to Miss is complete and I’m now a happily divorced woman, I’m also a very different woman, a woman who will never settle for anyone who will make me feel scared to say the wrong thing, dance when the rhythm scoops me up or see anything other than the positive, happy side of life. I’m starting to plan things again. I’d like to say I lost a husband and gained a friend but sadly he doesn’t see life like I do, the anger and bitterness still consume him just as it always did and I have a horrible feeling that will never change.

And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll find my Prince Charming and go back to life as a wife? I’ll find that certain someone who’ll hold me in public, will be oblivious by every pretty girl who walks in the room, will accept my boys as his own, plan a future with me, someone  I can talk to through the good times and the bad.

Who knows, I may even have found him? What I do know though is this; I’m happy in my own skin and my own company and I’m not reliant on someone else making me happy. I make me happy and anything else is a bonus.

So today my divorce was complete, and how do I feel? well heres an update...


Divorce – to party or not to party?

D-day is almost here and I’ve been thinking about the best way to handle it. As Divorces go, it’s been ok I guess, that could just be down to my general approach to life; keep positive and look forward never dwell. Sure, there’s been hiccups and moments where I’ve wallowed in a massive pool of self pity, I’m an awful mother for putting my kids through this and I’ve failed at being a wife days.

There’s also been moments of complete and utter excitement as I anticipate what the future brings. I don’t dare plan too much, that’s the knock on of separation. After a long relationship is you realise life can always throw you a curve ball, and I’ve no idea if there will ever be a Mr Right in that future I don’t dare plan. I’m still an old romantic at heart and love the idea of happily ever after, but I’m not going to make that my sole mission in life.

For the first time, in a very long time, I’m quite happy being me, myself and I.

One thing no one warns you about, when you and your husband go your separate ways and you take on the role of My Single Friend, is you become a go-to and confidant for everyone else’s marriage troubles, that’s a great reminder of how much better off I am right now. That could be a reason to party.

So that clears up where I am on Separation Street, the perfect time to put it out there, that conversation which keeps popping up;

Are you going to have a divorce party?

Is a divorce ever something you should celebrate? After all, it’s a failure to maintain a relationship, and one which I worked bloody hard to keep going, but come the end, the lows far out weighed the highs, it was a pretty dark place for us all then things came to light which made the fight to stay together futile.

If I’m honest, there’s no denying I’m much happier with how life is right now, but do I celebrate the reason for why I’m here with a party? My release into my new life….

should you celebrate the end of your marriage with a divorce party?

I’m not the angry, bitter, man-hating soon to be divorcee, so I don’t need a freedom style party. Neither do I feel the need to burn my wedding photos or dress. My current status is what it is and there were moments when married life was ace, 3 amazing kids being the ultimate showcase, and my best coping mechanism is to not dwell on the past or revisit old wounds.

And while I’m not proud of being a statistic; a single mum of three, purveyor of a broken home. I am proud of the life my boys and I have now, we may not be a home of 2 parents, 2.4 kids. But we’re a happy, relaxed set up.

What constitutes a normal family these days anyway?

So the alternative is to celebrate new beginnings and continue to look to the future. For me, divorce is an end of an era and stepping stone onto my next adventure. I’ve reflected on my part in the break up and learnt what not and what I should do next time.

And I’m sure I’ll have the odd moment of ‘what if I’d done this’ which I’ll then put it aside, raise a glass  and wish my ex husband well with the hope that we’ll both go onto have happy, healthy lives.

While he’s stands there,

burning wedding photos.
should you celebrate the end of your marriage with a divorce party?


My experience of Digital Mortgage Broker Habito.com

I’m very British in that I’m not very comfortable talking about money sometimes. It’s not that I have anything to hide, I just like to keep some things private (yeah, that’s right, a blogger who keeps some private, you can’t put those eye brows down.) This is one thing I’ve had to overcome though recently as one of the huge downfalls of divorce, part from the blindingly obvious, is that you have to disclose every single penny you earn and spend to your solicitor and future ex spouse.

So while I’m on this big money sharing adventure <cough> I thought I’d write a post on one of the things I’ve had to do recently to help keep a roof over my kids heads and start a new independent life and that’s remortgage my house. No mean feat I should add at this point given the fact I’m self-employed and mortgages are pretty hard to come by at the moment.

Throw in the fact I’m a single mum of 3, working like crazy to try to raise said mortgage, so time is not in abundance to scour the internet. Which is why I am putting the task into the hands of the professionals and using digital mortgage broker habito.com to see if they can work miracles for me.

After an initial 5 minutes quick round of questions which helped give me a general idea to find out my maximum borrowing amount, along with an illustration on how much my payments would be, it was onto the next round. There are no credit checks at this point which is a relief!

It was then onto more detailed set of questions, still in the friendly, easy to follow format and again didn’t take much time. Finally I answered a few future plans questions, like do I intend to have more children, move ect which gave little snippets of advice on which style mortgages would be better for me.

My experience of using a digital mortgage broker


Once that was all completed it was then all down to the option of having a chat with an adviser either though live chat or telephone. I’m a huge fan of live chat as I often have an equally chatty 3-year-old who battles for my attention the minute I get on the phone.

And that’s where I’m going to leave it there as my British-ness has kicked in again and what goes on between me and Habito.com stays between Ali & Habito.com. But I can say that it’s was quick, stress free and that I’m still sticking by my claim that some things are worth leaving to the professionals.

My experience of using a digital mortgage broker


I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post.


This Is How I’m Helping My Kids Through A Divorce

It’s been quite some time since I wrote about my separation, to be honest I’ve never been more uncomfortable sharing something so personal and there are still aspects I will keep to myself. But there are also some things which I wanted to share, things I’ve leant and never expected to feel. No one can truly prepare you for what lies ahead, everyone’s story is different. Yet there are things, or rather, situations which most people experience but never really tell you.

You will have to use every core of your emotions to put your children first

Right from the start I wanted to make my divorce as pain-free for my kids. They were entering a whole new lifestyle which had never been predicted. One day they were looking forward to a future with a mum & dad; A wedding day with all the family, mum and dad on the top table, not a step parents in sight and weekends doing family stuff, always in their own house. Holidays would carry on as normal and when they left home they’d come back to mum and dads for Sunday roasts.

All the things they’d taken for granted suddenly swept away.

I know how that feels, I’m a child of divorce too and that whole uncertainty of what life is going to be like is pretty scary, especially when you haven’t got a lifetime of experience and adult reasoning to rationalise things.

So one thing I had to do was put myself in their shoes, this meant sending myself right back to how I felt all those years ago, not a nice memory to try relive, I might have been 19 but divorce is hard on kids no matter what age . Yet if the boys and I were to come out of this storm unscathed, they had to come first and I had to try and remember how the whole thing felt. 

You will have to learn to be fake happy

I never want to wave them off to spend time with their dad, I want them with me. I want life as normal as possible, I want a noisy house, clutter everywhere, weekends spent driving them around to friends, early wake up calls from my toddler and pizza on the sofa on a Saturday.

My boys want to see their dad.

So with a fake smile and over jolly voice I open the door, lump in my throat, and watch them leave. The silence when they go is deafening and not something you ever get use to. But my kids need and want  to see their dad and so they should. That’s me, once again, using every core of my emotions to put their needs first and not be selfish. What went on between him & I is no business of theirs and who am I to dictate whether they see him or not? 

divorce is tough on everyone & if I'm going to make sure my kids come through it unscathed, there's a few things i need to do
You will have to encourage a good relationship with step parents & family

While we’ve not quite crossed this path yet, there have been new partners. I’ve been very careful not to ask too many questions or quiz them when they return home after a weekend with their dad. I wanted to, believe me, but I know that they’ll feel like their loyalty is being tested. My way of coping with the times away from them is to not think about it, not pry and try not to moan about what they have or haven’t done, eaten or watched.

What I don’t know what hurt me or ignorance is bliss

There are moments when I want to pick up the phone and yell what do you think you’re doing to my ex husband and his family. But truth be told, I never agreed with their ways when we were together, as if they’re going to give a stuff what I think now. I remind myself I have to beg to differ. And when a new girlfriend is on the scene I will have to be positive, sharing my kids was never something I bargained on, but if they have a good relationship with her, their dad will be happy and with any luck, together they’ll pu our kids needs first. 

Put simply, I need to set an example and not bitch.

You can’t dis their other parent in front of them

Now that was and still is a hard one. Slagging off my ex, their dad, to the kids is dangerous to say the least. While I might feel better getting a few things off my chest, I’m also aware it can totally back fire and make them more protective of him, they’ll also get to see a not-so-nice side to me. On the other hand I could end up totally trashing their relationship with their father & causing some serious issues. My children have a right to a life with 2 parents, whether I like it or not, and I can’t jeopardise or control how that pans out. Friends and my family are my go to’s for a bloody good moan, not my kids.

Instead I only say good things, I don’t want my kids growing up being scared to talk about dad in front of me and luckily my family are doing exactly the same. Fake smiles and words all round, we’re getting quite good at pretending!

And the good? There’s always a silver lining

Going through a divorce makes you look for any and every inch of positivity. I’m not perfect,  I’ve had my moments where it’s stressed me, upset me and battered me back and blue emotionally. It’s during those times when I’ve had to dig deep to find the positives in what I’m doing.

And there is, it’s called resilience and optimism – looking ahead to a happy future.

Our house is much calmer and my kids know it, I just need to remind them. I’m also showing them that you don’t have to accept a situation which feels wrong, you can make changes, however hard they might be and sometimes you have to do things which scare you to see the long term benefits.  They’ve whitnessed me stepping into the unknown as life as a single parent and being a much more relaxed, happier person because of it. Divorce is never the easy way out, it takes a whole heap of guts to admit something isn’t right. Staying is much easier. 

I came out of my parents divorce alright and I know that my boys’ll be building up resilience to any future emotional wobbles. I’m teaching them they can handle anything, they might not feel that way now, but one day, I’m hoping they’ll look back and realise they handled it pretty bloody amazingly and can take on any future emotional upheaval with the same gumption. 

And Finally, I’m also teaching them that there is no normal when it comes to family, everyone is different, and in a world where difference is not getting a good rap right now, I think that’s a pretty good lesson to learn.

divorce is tough on everyone & if I'm going to make sure my kids come through it unscathed, there's a few things i need to do