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!


It Ain’t that bad being a single mum, honestly.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the positives with being a single mum recently, mulling it over, chatting with my fellow single mum friends and slipping it, albeit probably randomly, in conversations with non-single / married friends. Because, excuse me while I step on my soapbox, it ain’t actually THAT bad.

Honestly, if you’d asked me years ago what I thought being a single mum would be like, I’d have painted a picture of poverty, loneliness, your kids being labelled, me being at my witts end as I juggle the work/life balance, I’d probably have to give up all hope of a career. You get the picture.

But here’s the thing, it’s far from it.

I stayed in an unhappy marriage for years, believing that it would be better for our children to grow up in a home with both parents. I thought I’d never cope on my own, anxious that I wouldn’t continue to be the best mum I was striving for and I’d let my kids down, screw them up for life.

Don’t get me wrong, there were good times but you know when that time comes to admit that life would probably be a hell of a lot better for all of us if we called it a day. You assure yourself that, as scary as those first few months will be, you’ve just got to do it, ride out the storm and that pretty soon you’ll adjust.

I’m nearly 18 months in now and it just feels normal. I’ve got used to my child-free weekends, I hated them at first, the silence and having a clean tidy house was horrible, it took every ounce of PMA to wave them off without crying, knowing the boys wouldn’t miss me, they’d be absolutely fine and that they wanted so desperately to spend time with their dad. They still bounce out the door like its the most natural thing in the world to go off to Dads every other weekend, the 3-year-old squeals with excitement  “yay, it’s a Daddy day!”

So there you go, positive single parent thing number one; your kids can have a close relationship with both parents. A dad who makes his time with his children special, without me interfering. I know that’s not always the case, I’m well aware of single dads who are absolute pants at making the most of their time with the kids, I know of some who just disappear and put their own needs above their children.

I know of single mums who have done that too.


You make your moments without your kids count

And those child-free weekends? They’re the times when I recharge, I catch up on housework, lock my self away and get on top of my work deadlines, I go to the gym or I meet friends for lunch or coffee. Some weekends I go out, stay out waaaay past my bed time, I slut drop across the nightclub floor fuelled on gin and girlie night giggles, making stories for Monday morning and wake up at lunchtime the next day.

Imagine that married friends with kids! Imagine having a hangover without the mum guilt of letting your child have 3 hours on the iPad while you pretend Mummy’s ill. I make no apologies for having fun, I’m not a party animal, I’m not an alcoholic and I’m not being irresponsible. Neither am I out on the man trap, I have fun and let my hair down for my friends, with my friends, it’s more about having a boogie and darn good lighthearted yarn.

By the time my boys come home I’m back in sensible mum mode.

I’m mum and dad 24/7 ((technicallyIt aint that bad being a single mum, here's my positives in flying solo 24/5 ish give or take a few numbers)  and those times when I let my hair down make way for doing a kick-ass job when the kids are home as I have absolutely NO resentment for being chief in charge the rest of the time. I earnt my breather, my kids were safe with their dad, having fun, making memories and knowing that actually, life’s much better now mum and dad are happy and we’re getting quality time with both.

Friends are EVERYTHING

There’s also the friendships which form when you’re single parenting. I may have lost a husband, but I gained an amazing best friend. I had friends when I was married, but when you’re single, you find yourself navigating to other single mums. We have a shared understanding of what it’s like and that common ground breeds a warm fuzzy sisterhood feeling. It’s ace, I’m ashamed to say married me would’ve probably raised my eyebrows at the group of singletons being loud, happy and nonchalant in the pub. Married me, wouldn’t have realised she was most probably jealous they looked like they were having more fun than me, and given the time machine option,  I’d like to go back and remind married me-

don’t judge someone unless you’ve walked in their shoes.

I have made a vow never to underestimate the value of friendships and be a slack mate ever again. It’s those very friends who have scraped me up and dusted me down, listened to my grumbles and made me laugh til I cry.


You get to reinvent yourself

I used my new single status to have an image overhaul. It’s not that I never made an effort before, but my free time gave me a chance to go to the hairdressers, the gym, start running, go clothes shopping and I’m not alone, I see no shame in making sure you look good.

I’ve had my teeth straightened, changed my hairstyle, change the way I wear makeup and revamped my whole wardrobe. My self-esteem was rock bottom in the first few months as a single mum, and making an effort was not some grand scheme to snare a new husband, it was about making myself feel better, I wanted to look in the mirror and know I wasn’t the horrible, ugly person which repelled my husband into the arms of another woman.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I turned a negative into a positive. Held my head up high and strutted out of my marriage looking forward with an air of ‘it’s your loss.’ I’ve seen my single mum friends do the same, some are barely recognisable and they look AMAZING. Don’t knock a single mum for making an extra effort, it’s probably more about feeling good about themselves than what other people think

So married mums and dads, please don’t feel sorry for us. Yes, it can be hard, tiring and lonely not having a wingman, but you learn to compromise.

Please don’t judge, avoid, treat differently. Invite us round to dinner parties, bbq’s and book playdates. We’re not out to steal your husbands or feel resentment for your coupleness. We’re just like you, honest!

And here’s the thing, the last passing thought which I’ve learnt as a single mum. Mentally and physically, I’ve never been stronger, so you can take that broken home tripe and stick it in room 101.

I patched up with super glue and you can’t even see the cracks.

It aint that bad being a single mum, here's my positives in flying solo


Stepping out in luxury lingerie with Empress Mimi

Answer this honestly ladies, those days when you step out the door in matching undies are the ones when you feel like you’ve got your mojo. I’m working it, I can handle it and yes #ThisMumCan. Even if you’re not feeling fully on trend or classy on the outside, knowing that underneath it all, you’re killing it. I’ve been going by the mantra that there’s no need to save things til best anymore, seriously,  what’s the point of the beautiful things in your life staying locked away in a drawer, only to see the light of day on the odd special occasion? (Answer, there’s NO point.)

So I put on the nice jewellery, wear the posh perfume and most days, not just the good days, I make sure I’m wearing matching undies/lingerie/underclobber whatever you want to call it.

Need an example? Take this cute little set from Empress Mimi for example; what lady wouldn’t raise a smile to a new set like this being delivered to their door each month? This is hands down the most exciting thing to arrive on my doorstep last week, believe me!

Arriving beautifully packaged, opening it up and waiting to see what’s inside was all part of the fun. Almost like a little present to yourself, a well done for being awesome this month, now go get changed and feel fabulous.

Yeah, after a careful, well thought through head rummage, I’m totally sold on the idea of a surprise package of lingerie coming each month.

  • There’s no stress in finding time to go to the shop to buy it,
  • it’s indulgent, because let’s face it, people only buy new undies when they’re having an affair, newly single and ready to mingle or off on a girlie weekend where the pressure to give off the ‘yeah, I don’t own any grey holey numbers, I always make an effort whatever the occasion’  vibe.
  • And if left to a man to buy it, it’s only ever going to be red or black and probably the wrong size.

So here’s a thought. What if you decide you’re not going to be that person who saves the best for best.

What if, for example, you decide to throw away all you old faithful’s, and to step out every day as though you’re dressed for all eventualities because the only underwear you own is simply amazing? (Blokes who are still reading, that applies to you too, ditch the holey boxers. Do it, do it now!)

So here's a thought. What if you decide you're not going to be that person who saves the best lingerie for only best?

In the words of Empress Mimi themselves……

There is a misconception that lingerie is exclusively for the bedroom. What is worn underneath your clothes directly reflects how you feel and the energy you emit. A touch of sensual lingerie is the equivalent to a power suit, one that is delicious little secret that only you know about.

And I’m totally with it, as pretty lingerie makes it all better.

So here's a thought. What if you decide you're not going to be that person who saves the best lingerie for only best?

Fancy trying it out Empress Mimi for yourself?
You can get 15% off your first purchase using the code MUMINANUTSHELL15
 And what’s more, they’ll also donate 10% of the proceeds of the purchases made using the discount code to charities helping get more women into coding http://www.projectgirlcode.org
Why coding?
Because we believe that technology and the online world has lowered the barriers to entry for everyone to run their own business (whether as a side hustle or full time). Getting more women into tech will ensure more women at the top of what we hope will become the new world  leading businesses and will ensure that every woman has the skills and knowledge to thrive in the emerging tech economy. More women going online and building like-minded communities that support one another, and more fearless women with the right tools at their disposal to create anything they can imagine .
Empress Mimi


This is a collaborative post. All words and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. 


Simple changes, big results… I’m Gonna Get Me a Watch

Funny old thing time, you either have it or you don’t. I don’t these days. That’s the long and the short of it,  I’m always rambling on that there isn’t enough hours in the day or I just don’t have the time as I charge around the house at the end of the day putting away washing and mentally trying to work out how much work I need to complete before bed time.

I’m my own worst enemy as not being organised is my downfall followed closely by a lack of self-discipline. I start each day with the best intentions, but as I work from home, it only takes me checking my phone and I’m down in a rabbit hole of answering emails or messages, already chasing my tail as I try playing catch up to get ready, then running out of the door in a fluster.

I’m pretty much always late these days too, and I hate that. If I’m running late I can feel the stress building up and that’s one area I really try keep in check. I’ve got this firm belief that stress is a huge precursor for many illnesses and I simply don’t have the time to be ill!

So what’s my plan?

It’s simple, I’ve started wearing a watch, a nice fancy day-to-evening Marc Jacobs number (heavily reduced at Plus Watches as luck would have it.) I chose to go bling-bling in the hope that something stunning wrapped around my wrist will encourage me to keep looking subconsciously checking on my time in an effort not to be late. Something eye-catching, that was my plan.

Why I ever gave up wearing a watch I'll never know. I'm so much more aware of time now; organised me is back!
And it’s working, mainly because I love pretty things, I’m like a magpie. I was thinking of going down the fitness tracker watch route but my gorgeous little sparkly rose gold number makes me feel just as good as clocking how many steps I’ve taken would’ve. I’m so much more aware of time now; where I need to be, how much time I’ve got and just being a super wiz bang organised lady.

Why I ever gave up wearing a watch I’ll never know, and the best thing is, I can put my phone down a little more, even leave it at home if the kids are with me. I can feel my iPhone addictions slowly loosening the reins as I have one less thing to rely on it for.

And it all started by a good old-fashioned wrist watch!

Why I ever gave up wearing a watch I'll never know. I'm so much more aware of time now; organised me is back!


This is a collaborative post



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?