GETTING DIVORCED IN YOUR TWENTIES: THE REALITY

Marrying in my early twenties seemed like the natural progression for me. As a young mother I was already so much more mature than my years (or so I thought) and just wanted to settle down. I craved stability.

As far as taboo subjects go this may not be one you have really put much thought into but divorce in your twenties comes with more baggage than you would ever realise. Not only did I have to deal with my marriage breaking down and my own personal thoughts and feelings associated with that but also everyone else’s opinions. Believe me, there were plenty of those!

On paper we were married for over five years, in reality it was barely eighteen months. The shame and disappointment in myself was overwhelming. It was suffocating at times and if I’m honest that was harder to deal with than the breakup itself. I wanted to hide and heal. Divorce wasn’t something that happened to people my age, was it? It felt like a dirty word, sour in my mouth. My social media was full of photographs and memories. Even now many years later I’m still reminded of things I’d usually rather forget.

Whilst my family were amazing for the most part I won’t pretend that there wasn’t an element of ‘I told you so’ in the air. Attitudes like that can be so damaging to a persons mental health at such a vulnerable time. The experience has really taught me more than I ever realised about how important it is to be considerate and kind. Not to judge and that gossip really is the devil.

The fear of giving into failure can ultimately be the thing that keeps you in an unsuccessful marriage and if I could give anyone in my position some advice it would be to never, ever feel ashamed of choosing the path that’ll make you happy in the long run. The short term may seem daunting, even terrifying but before you know it you’ll look back with nothing but relief.

Our experiences are never entirely negative. You can learn so much from what you perceive as a waste of time. I came away from my marriage knowing more about myself and who I wanted to be in the future. I’m stronger, wiser and more grounded than I ever was. My thirties may have started with an ending, but that made way for some beautiful new beginnings and for that I will be forever grateful.

RESOLUTIONS AND REGRETS (BLOGMAS – DAY THIRTY-ONE)

…and just like that it’s New Years Eve again. 2021 has been a strange one. Little snippets of a reality we used to know interspersed with a ‘new normal’.

I feel like I’ve had a permanent headache trying to wrap my brain around what I should or shouldn’t be doing. I’m sure many of you feel the same.

Anyway, I digress. This year has been filled with isolation, binged box sets and far too many biscuits. I don’t want to fall into the old ‘New Year, New Me’ trap but in 2022 I’m making some changes!

Read more…

Anyone who knows me would be able to tell you how much I love reading. There is always a stack of books on my bedside table and list as long as my arm of recommended reads on my kindle.

I started the year off on a high, devouring novels like I was at an all you can eat buffet but somewhere along the line things just…stopped.

I lost what was left of my motivation and reading weren’t something I did for pleasure anymore. It feels so wrong even just saying that as it has always been my escape.

I’m making it my mission to ensure that 2022 is full of books. A book a week in fact.

Exercise…

I have NEVER been a fan of exercise. However, I will begrudgingly admit that when I do throw myself into some semblance of a routine I do feel better for it. Not just physically but mentally too.

I don’t necessarily feel the need to lose weight, I’m undoubtedly at the heaviest I have ever been (pregnancy excluded) but actually feel quite confident in myself. I would like to be healthier though. Since having covid late last year I would definitely say I’ve been more sluggish, I really hope this is something I can overcome with a better diet and exercise.

I guess it would also be nice to look and feel my best on my wedding day!

Do well at uni…

I’m about to embark on my second term of uni and it’s going well so far! I’m really enjoying it and honestly, I think it was something I desperately needed.

Whilst the course might have taken me by surprise I feel comfortable in my growth and really hope that I can keep it up.

I so want 2022 to be the year that I absolutely SMASH my first two modules. I think that would be a highlight for me. With a creative writing assignment on the horizon as well as some intense reading I’ve got some hard work ahead!

Make memories…

With 2020 & 2021 being somewhat a waste of bloody time I feel like now more than ever is all about seizing the day and really grabbing every piece of happiness you possibly can.

I want to live my life and create the most beautiful memories with my loved ones. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Manifest…

This might sound a bit loopy but I experimented with manifesting back in the summer and can honestly say (in my own experience) that it genuinely works. I really want to try and implement that positive frame of mind into my daily life next year.

I truly believe that good things are coming my way and I am so ready for them!

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Do you have any regrets you’d like to rectify?

3 FAMILY BOARD GAMES THAT WILL HAVE YOU CRYING WITH LAUGHTER (BLOGMAS – DAY THIRTY)

My family are the biggest board game fans I know. We have regular get togethers that revolve around whatever the newest release is and have been known to spend hours laughing/arguing over them.

Here are my top 3 choices right now!

Telestrations

Each player begins by sketching a TELESTRATIONS word dictated by the roll of a die. The old-fashioned sand timer may limit the amount of time they get to execute their sketch, but it certainly doesn’t limit creativity!

Time’s up! All players, all at the same time, pass their sketch to the next player, who must guess what’s been drawn. Players then simultaneously pass their guess — which hopefully matches the original word (or does it??) — to the next player who must try to draw the word they see.

smythstoys.com

This game has led to THE MOST ridiculous amount of belly laughs I have ever had in my life. The sheer ridiculously of it is astounding. It sounds so easy yet somehow we manage to absolutely annihilate any sense of sensible behaviour we may have possessed. Honestly, it’s hilarious.

Colourbrain

YOU START WITH THE ANSWERS

All the answers you need in Colourbrain are in your hand. And they’re all colours!

300 COLOURFUL QUESTIONS

What colour is the lid on full-fat milk… what colour is a sharon fruit… which colour cards would you put down?

bigpotato.co.uk

The concept is so simple (which I love! There is nothing worse than spending half the evening reading the over complicated instructions of a subpar game). As a family Colourbrain is a favourite of ours. With a group of mixed ages it can sometimes be tough to find something that’s suits everyone but this is a winner!

Top of the Pops

TUNE IN, POP OUT

Top of the Pops is back and this time it has got kazoos!


MUSIC FOR EVERYONE

You don’t have to be a music genius to play this game, you just need to know a few songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and beyond


BATTLE OF THE BANDS

Round 1: shout out (or sing) songs against the clock. Round 2: get your team to guess the artist by saying one word, quoting lyrics or murdering one of their hits on your kazoo.

bigpotato.co.uk

One word…kazoo!

This one is so much harder than it sounds so absolutely worth it for the half hour on a off ugly crying from laughter it caused on Boxing Day. If you’ve ever wondered what a Moose in mating season might sound like then ask my father-in-law to give you a song on the kazoo.

Have you played any good ones lately?

MERRY CHRISTMAS! (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-FIVE)

Just a quick word from me today, I’m sure you’re all busy!

However you choose to celebrate or not celebrate the day I truly hope it’s a great one.

I know this time of year can be difficult for many. Losing loved ones, battling personal difficulties and just the general slog of working through our new normal has taken it’s toll but there is always something to be thankful for.

Merry Christmas!

Love always, Kelly x

MY EXPERIENCE WITH MALE FRIENDSHIPS (BLOGMAS – DAY NINETEEN)

Friendship is a funny thing isn’t it? The act of just finding a person and claiming them in a sense.

I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled with it as such but I’ve always been quite introverted in a way, perfectly happy in my own company and always tending to stick to small friendship groups. I’ve been that way ever since childhood and looking back the majority of those friendships have been with other women which I guess is more or less normal?

Then there’s ‘that’ woman. You know the type. Claims to just not click with ‘the girls’. Men are easier, less drama. We all roll our eyes and make snide comments at such attention seeking because that’s what it is, isn’t it?

However, back in 2015 I started a new job that would change my perspective massively.

Having moved to a completely new area a few years before I didn’t really have many local friends. My job previous to that was a very fast paced retail environment so whilst I had met some lovely people I hadn’t built many lasting relationships of anything more than passing acquaintances.

Working in a much more social setting it was easier to make friends although with it being extremely male dominated it was only a matter of time before I realised I was now ‘that’ woman.

Obviously for me it wasn’t a conscious decision. It was circumstantial but never the less a welcome change. I relished being the only female in my little group. I was well looked after and actually now I can reflect back on that period of my life with honesty, I was spoiled.

My relationship at the time wasn’t a great one to begin with but he definitely wasn’t a fan of my new social life.

This is just my personal experience but I find that I constantly compare myself to my female friends and we all know that comparison is the thief of joy. I now had a newfound confidence because that just didn’t happen to me around these men. In actual fact, they helped me to see myself in a new non critical light. There were never any romantic feelings unrequited or otherwise. Just a really lovely friendship with a group of people who ‘got’ me but happened to be male.

I can also honestly say that in all that time I only ever came across one woman who didn’t immediately welcome my presence in their boyfriends life. We did eventually become friends ourselves though and I put the initial frostiness down to insecurity.

I’m writing this post from a bit of an unusual perspective because whilst I 100% believe that men and women can have a purely platonic relationship I am also the insecure girlfriend who doesn’t understand why another woman would want to be friends with her man. I know that sounds ridiculous. I don’t get it myself.

I completely understand how these types of friendships can come between relationships. As humans we don’t always act in a fair and logical way and a lot of us have deep-seated insecurities that mean we find the presence of a new person an instant threat to our relationship regardless of if we trust our partner or not.

As it stands I now have three friendship groups. Two full of my closest girlfriends and the other where I am the only female. These groups all offer me completely different things, having met them at different times in my life. I would definitely say that I now understand why there are women out there who tend to drift more towards male friendships. They do offer something completely different, a different way of seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes and at that particular time in my life it was exactly what I needed. It hit me through a period where I was broken. It saved me in ways I didn’t realise I needed saving and taught me to love myself in ways I didn’t know I could.

I wouldn’t say I’m now exclusively ‘that’ woman but I certainly get it. It’s not as clear cut as I initially thought.

MARK’S TOMATO, CHILLI AND ROASTED RED PEPPER SOUP (BLOGMAS – DAY FIVE)

Is anyone else bloody freezing right now? Those pesky (but very cosy!) colder months always seem like the perfect time to share one of my favourite recipes with you all and you’re in for a treat!

Hands up, this recipe actually belongs to my fiancé. However, I actually do a good 90% of the cooking in our house and have perfected this myself so I feel entitled to share! With these quantities you should have about 2600ml of soup at the end. Roughly enough for approximately 8 portions at 140 calories each. You will need…

  • 6 red peppers
  • 1200g (3 tins) of plum tomatoes
  • 3 red chillis
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 medium onions
  • 900ml of vegetable stock (2 cubes mixed with 900ml of water)
  • 4 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp of chilli powder
  • 25g of butter
  • Cream and basil (to garnish)

Chop the peppers, garlic, onions and chilli peppers then throw them into a roasting tin along with the plum tomatoes and olive oil in the oven for half an hour on a medium heat (gas mark 6).

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the celery. Create the vegetable stock and add the puree, chilli flakes and powder then mix with the butter and celery.

Sometimes I like to add my favourite hot sauce here as well but that is all down to individual tastes.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven and add the contents to the pan. Blend to desired consistency.

Add cream and basil and a side of your favourite bread! Pretty simple right?

I would love to know if you guys decide to give it a go so make sure you take pics and tag me on social media!

KELLY’S CHRISTMASSY ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR LITTLE ONES (BLOGMAS – DAY THREE)

Christmas is right around the corner and with that comes the school holidays that are to me, equal parts amazing and terrifying.

Entertaining three boys is a full time job in itself so I’m always on the hunt for activities we can do together.

Here are some simple and relatively cheap or free favourites of mine that will still work with little to no money.

Movie Night

Snuggling up with a blanket, some snacks and a bit of holiday season nostalgia is pretty much the pinnacle of Christmas isn’t it?

My personal favourite film to watch with the boys is The Grinch. It’s sweet with lots of heart but also absolutely bloody hilarious (and any woman who can say that the iconic scene where the grinch is trying to pick an outfit for the Whobilation isn’t them is lying).

Festive Baking

Decorating pre made ginger bread men counts doesn’t it? I mean, if you’re the next GBBO contestant then by all means do your thing but I can just about bake a decent banana bread (thank you lockdown!) so I like to keep things simple.

It can get messy but the kids love it and that’s all that matters, right? One of my favourite childhood memories is my mum letting me lick the spoon after making rice crispy cakes (obviously she was just as good at baking as I am).

Christmas Crafts

Ok, so I’m not the most artistic person in the world but I like to think I make up for it with enthusiasm!

Whether you’re making cards, decorating baubles or going all out creating a unique Christmas Day centrepiece you honestly can’t go wrong with crafts.

If all else fails a colouring book will entertain.

Local Lights Trail

One of our favourites things to do at this time of year is to go out and explore our town and look at the gorgeously decorated houses.

We are very lucky to live by the sea and all of the boats in the harbour are also often full of Christmas cheer and covered in fairy lights.

It creates such a lovely atmosphere and really makes us all feel that little bit more ‘Christmassy’ especially with a hot chocolate in hand!

Games Night

Monopoly anyone? Love them or hate them would it really be Christmas without a board game or 10?

My in-laws are pros at picking the most hilarious family activities. Some of our current favourites are Telestrations, Rapidough and Game For Fame (which can be ridiculously embarrassing but it wouldn’t be Christmas if you aren’t made to feel like a bit of a tit).

If anyone threatens to throw a strop you can bribe them with a cunningly hidden tin of celebrations. Everyone’s a winner!

I hope these ideas have been helpful and you manage to have a wonderful Christmas with your families. Don’t forget to pour yourself a large glass of something very alcoholic and celebrate the small things.

Merry Christmas everyone!

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT I’M FEELING 32…

And just like that, bam! I’m one year older and a whole lot wiser!

I feel like my life has changed so much since my 30th birthday. I guess from the outside things may seem much the same but as a person I have grown into someone I don’t even recognise sometimes.

After years of thinking I’d missed my chance I finally became a university student and am just hours away from submitting my first assignment (something I’m both thrilled and terrified about!).

I genuinely never imagined I’d get to this stage, with children to raise and bills to pay it all just seemed so out of reach but with the right people around me and a whole lot of determination I’m here and it honestly feels so good! I think I just wish more than anything that I’d had more faith in myself ten years ago but better late than never I suppose.

My children are thriving and my fiancé (who has just started a new job with no more evening or weekend shifts!) and I have finally set a wedding date. Roll on September 2022!

This year we have started to achieve a more healthy work/life balance and I’m so grateful for that. For the first time in a long time we have guaranteed Christmas plans and I’m actually giddy with excitement!

The hard times will always be hard and I’m not saying that my life is perfect but at times it feels pretty damn close and I feel so incredibly lucky.

Getting older will never be the answer to all of life’s problems, for me it was more realising that growing up didn’t mean that things were set in stone. My life could be what I make of it if I work hard enough.

BLOGTOBER X BLOGR CHALLENGE 2021 WEEK 1 – A LETTER TO 2022 ME (BLOGTOBER – DAY FOURTEEN)

Dear Kelly of 2022,

This year you have so many amazing things in store and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

2020 – 2021 was a time of reflection for us both and at times I honestly didn’t know if that was a good thing but at this moment in time I’m truly sure it was.

By now you’ll be deep into your uni course (only over a decade late but the best things come to those who wait) and hopefully enjoying it more than you ever imagined.

In nine months you’ll be marrying the love of your life and spending the day celebrating with the people you treasure most in the world (which lets face it, after the last couple of years is needed more than ever!).

Maybe you’ll have shifted that lockdown weight (doubt it, you’re quite happy in yourself right now and I bloody love that!) and maybe you haven’t but knowing that you’re content and healthy is my happy place.

I hope you’re still writing consistently just for you and not because you feel you have to. It’s helped to ground you so much and helps with all kinds of aspects of your day to day life.

You started the year off so well, reading often and feeling so inspired by other peoples words and that slowly tailed off into a nothingness. I was you to promise that 2022 will be the year you read and read and read. It’s one of the biggest passions of your life. Always make time for it.

Overall I just hope that you continue to grow, to push yourself and work hard to ensure your dreams come true. However, don’t forget to love your life for what it is in the time. There are always moments to cherish no matter how dark the day may seem.

Love always,

Kelly of 2021

BLOGTOBER X BLOGR CHALLENGE 2021 WEEK 1 – KELLY’S ADVICE ON TACKLING ONLINE HATE (BLOGTOBER – DAY SEVEN)

Hello my lovelies!

I’ve never tackled a blog post like this before so please bear with me, it may all come tumbling out and make absolutely no sense!

I’ll admit I’ve been very lucky and up until last week had never experienced any kind of online hate or trolling.

I remained blissfully ignorant as to how much your confidence can be obliterated in no time at all with a handful of comments from strangers.

Having recently put together a piece of content I was incredibly proud of (and something the brand themselves had been very complimentary of, enough so that they asked to feature it in an ad campaign) I was horrified to learn that my appearance was the subject of many negative discussions.

When I first came across the comments my initial reaction was one of confusion.

I don’t know these people. What have I done to deserve such an attack?

It’s hard to comprehend the mentality of trolls when you would never dream of being so hurtful to anyone. I cried and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to admit that. Putting your heart and soul into something only for others to try and tear you down is sickening.

So what have I learned and how can help someone else who may be experiencing the same thing for the first time?

The answer is, I’m not completely sure to be honest. Personally in the days following my own experience I managed to find humour in the comments. At the sheer silliness of the things people were saying and the fact that their opinions didn’t matter in the grand scheme of my life.

I refuse to let anyone take away something I have the righty to be so proud of. I will never again let another person make me feel small or insignificant.

My biggest piece of advice though is to never isolate yourself if you’re feeling attacked because it will allow those comments to burrow and fester. To implant themselves into your subconscious. Speak to your friends. Speak to your family. Let them pick you up, support you and comfort you. Listen to their kind words and believe them but above all believe in yourself.

You’re amazing. Don’t let anyone, let alone an insecure stranger make you believe differently.