Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Shortest Day of the Year, Elvis' Lonely This Christmas and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Today is the shortest day of the year and as we move towards Christmas for so many who are separated, divorcing or on their own through loss, even on this shortest of days, it can feel so very, very long.  

I felt this very recently, having taken myself off to a local supermarket with a cheery smile and thoughts of the days becoming longer, lighter and with a new year looming.  When I suddenly found myself at the droning mercy of dear Elvis and his Lonely This Christmas permeating my happy thoughts as I bought my Christmas fare.  

It got me, it hit me hard and I swallowed and fought back leaky tears - aaaaaahhhhhh why this song is still being played I have no idea!  It is not a cheery song, it is a bloody miserable, self indulgent song and serves nothing more than to remind those of us on our own that it is lonely at Christmas. Opening up that Christmas stocking full of emotional wobbles to the goose fat display, the teary eyedness to the chocolate yule log stack and the so fully conscious of what their personal situation is to the lines of bottles of champagne!!

No, no and no it is not a good song to play at this time of year - for all you good folk around the country arranging white noise that includes this song whilst we purchase our parsnips please stop it!  If nothing else I suddenly wanted to escape said supermarket, I didn't feel the slightest bit cheery anymore, I felt small, alone and I left without buying the milk I had originally come for.  

So this time of year is really hard, for those divorced, separated or on their own through loss of a partner, loneliness pervades.  

And what can you do to avoid the deep and unseen wells of human emotions.... happily, with a smile on my face and a cup of tea beside me it is .... SHOPPING ONLINE.  I have thankfully found this not only avoids the frenetic, energetic, mad purchasing power of the masses, but it has the smugness of lack of overspending with a single 'click' of a button. Plus the benefit of listening to maybe BBC Radio 6 Music in your own home.   Easy, calm and less draining ... it works for me. 

And it is during these challenging times I am reminded of this wonderful piece written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross... 

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen."

...when I am caught in the emotional headlights I try very hard to remember the many, many people who are not only on their own, but who are dealing with the most saddest of situations, losses, fears and in many parts of the world, with a lack of pretty much everything.  And it is the beauty, compassion and kindness that we can all feel in our hearts, that we can hold, no matter what our personal life challenges are during this festive period. And do we feel loneliness, sadness and dread simply just because we care...? 

So look ridiculous and SMILE at everyone, GREET those you only know a little well, tell those you love - tell them, email them, tweet FB them, tell them you LOVE them... we can all do it... and it feels good when it happens, our hearts burst with feel good emotions, happiness tickles our bodies and lights up our brains like a decorated Christmas tree... and how good can that feel?

With love and few festive Ho Ho Ho's .......x

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

No Fault Divorce - Please Let There be a Better Way

So today in the UK over 150 family justice professionals are coming to Parliament to meet their local MPs.  What is this for? A very good and honourable cause ... they are coming to talk to their MPs about why the Government needs to allow for a NO FAULT DIVORCE. This is good news!

For me and my ex husband it was a stumbling block in our commitment to having a respectful, kind and good divorce.  Neither of us had felt we had acted in any way unreasonably in the weeks following our initial discussions of our divorce and neither of us had committed adultery.  The question on the page was glaringly acrimonious... it made us stop, we were uncertain of the way forward and it was the last question on the Petition Form we completed.  

We were eager to get the divorce going and this could clearly be a 'flashpoint'.  And it was, as neither of us wanted to be separated for the next two years without being able to move on. 

So after several heated discussions, I agreed to take responsibility and tick the adultery box. My Ex had a business and wanted his history to be clear of any such attachments and I didn't want to fight.  When you decide to get a divorce you are at the stage where YOU KNOW that divorce is really the only way forward and that for your only crime to be to 'fall out of love' this question is unkind.  It is a hurdle that so many couples in our position have faced.  We are good people and at the end of the day want what is best for us, for our children, our families and friends.  

Surely this doesn't need to be a requirement of a couple seeking to get divorced amicably and with less stress, anxiety and conflict?  Do our children nee
d to see further upset between their separating parents?  No, I do not think so.  For me personally, the desire for my divorce to not define the rest of my life was incredibly important.  So does for me ticking the adulterer box affect my life, thankfully no - I choose not to be affected by the blame game that can so often ensue between separating couples.  I am okay with my decision. Did it have to happen - yes it did, because the question was there on the page, so does this still have to be part of a painful, guilt ridden and sad process - absolutely not.

The support separating couples require during such a scary, turbulent and distressing time is at it's most crucial and small steps can be made in reducing the finger pointing and judgemental 'unhelpfuls' such as this.  Divorce is not easy, it is hard whether you divorce with kindness or not.  We all struggle under the "Divorce" hat, it is unyielding, heavy and full of pain.  We do know there is a better way, a kinder way and more supportive way to help many, many members of our society through their troubles.  

Thank you Resolution for bringing this to the fore and I was happy to help today, sharing my experience of something that had been a really difficult decision during a painful process.

Natasha x

Sunday, 20 November 2016

My Secret Tip to Sleeping Better Through Divorce and Life

Sunday Love to You All

A little practice I do almost every night is this and I want to share this with you....

Before you go to sleep at night say a thank you to 3 people who made a difference to you today - through a smile, action or a thought....

Next think of 3 things that happened to you today that were positive, helpful and just maybe made you smile that gorgeous smile of yours....

Research has shown that going to sleep with positive thoughts in our heads helps us sleep better, we are in a more positive place mentally and that can only be a lovely thing....

Love Natasha 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Divorce Goddess - Empowering you through your divorce!: Feeling the Love in Divorce and in Politics?

Divorce Goddess - Empowering you through your divorce!: Feeling the Love in Divorce and in Politics?: So a great many of the human race have been left reeling after the surprise choice of the USA voting electorate.    There is fear in th...

Feeling the Love in Divorce and in Politics?

So a great many of the human race have been left reeling after the surprise choice of the USA voting electorate.
There is fear in the air, uncertainty of how the threats and promises are going to pan out. With the ripple effect of major upsets in our lives, sometimes unbeknown to us, this affects so many more people than we think.  

So I am throwing in divorce, with the ramifications when marriages are ended. Do we understand that it is also felt by so many in our world?  Whether it is your family, friends and community that are sad, happy or fearing possible outcomes of court warring, is this not similar to the energy of the frightened, shouty, unreasonables of political games and speeches in world politics this year.  

All that we know in our world is that before, during and after a divorce our world becomes so very different.  The shifting tectonic plates of human disagreements, life differences and relationships all maybe jarred beyond recognition or sometimes just imperceptibly different. What I have found is this, that no matter what the current quagmire of a landscape we think our world is in, it is really HOW we deal with such uncertainties in our lives that matters. 

Importantly it is now for our planet, more than ever for us all to realise, understand and believe we ALL have a duty of care.  It is in times of disruption, challenge and those dark shadow nightmare situations, that we have an opportunity to really begin to take a look at ourselves, to be brave and fearless as we look inwards, truly trusting we will find our "best selves". 

To do the work means sometimes looking at the anger we have towards our Ex, the perceived pain inflicted by their behaviour towards us or the unkindness of a world that has changed our lives so badly.  Ask yourself and listen deeply, in a place of stillness, what, why and how did your marriage end in divorce?  

This extraordinary time of politics has demonstrated that in every path there will inevitably be a fork along the way: one to follow anger, hatred and fear and the other fork towards a regrouping, a supportive and collaborative way of life... and divorce too is about beginning once again on that little known forked journey... whether you are a hobbit leaving your cosy home; a divorcee moving into something a little less grand or a property mogul moving into the White House.  

Life cannot be criticised, cursed or damned for throwing up surprises, curve or wrecker balls, because this is when we really authentically learn about ourselves. We can choose to forgive or to maybe discover the ability to be with, nurture and love ourselves.  Spend quality time with our children, our animals and in nature, whilst keeping counsel with our fellow human beings.  

We begin to see our lives from a different and more enlightened perspective.  Like anything difficult this takes work, forgiveness and kindness.  With that life reshuffling of negative biased thoughts of fear, of lack, of pain in divorce, we can ultimately choose a kinder path. And you know something - we feel a better bunch of human beings walking on the 'kind' fork, we like ourselves more when we aren't angry, bitter and at war.

We owe it to ourselves to understand even our own personal world can be a better place if we can release the fear.....and trust in each other with love... 

In the words of The Beatles " All you need is love" 


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Half term wobbles... watch Ferris Bueller

So we love camping out on the sofa especially before the teenagers disappear off for half term... the night before the half-term week away.  They're flying 4,000 miles with their Dad, off to see their lovely Granny... they are excited and they are wobbly...

And because it is ALWAYS tough for each of us to be leaving each other, we go for the feel good option of pizza and a funny film as the perfect antidote for our blues.  And having unashamedly been of the Breakfast Club generation, I never have been to refuse a little of Matthew Broderick.  We get to watch Ferris Buellers Day Off - it's the feel good movie with the positive life messages... and it makes us laugh out loud ... a lot. 

And so literally within a few minutes this Ferris BOOM is delivered..." Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"... and I am struck at how mindfulness has been in our lives all along. Its threads of simple wisdom gently reminding us all caught up in the crazy 21st century life that incredibly, is more than ever about the 'now'.  

Be it those cherished moments of hunkering down on a cosy sofa, eating pizza on a Friday 
night with your children or teenagers.  Being with the warmth of their now not so small bodies, with longer limbs draped over the sofa arms and hearing their breathing or their braced teeth munching pizza, the snorts of laughter and sibling banter.  

So with an arm wrapped around each we find our good place to connect before we leave each other for the week, happy in the understanding that these wonderful moments are part of the fabric of our lives. 

The moments of stillness, of love and quiet in amongst the busyness of half-terms, packing, travelling... Because then, before we all know it, the half term has come and gone and we are left with only rushed preparations for the next part of term and all that it brings.  

Being aware of the present is a gift.  It is the gift of your children's smiles, the funny rolling of the eyes, a hug hello or goodbye. It is being in that extraordinary moment, with your thoughts as you notice the natural kind smiles children have, the grim faced grunt or their now stronger and longer arms felt around you as you are hugged.  

Even smelling teenager's hair at its worst is considered a gift....Why so I hear you ask? ....Because you noticed, the hormonal charged scalp of your teenage Son that totally brings you into the present moment... the 'teenage boy hair' wafts - they can make you realise how much your Son has grown up, so quickly.  You wonder and begin to notice how much time you really now spend talking or trying to talk to them, being with them ...  these moments are so totally sensory smellingly special.  

And so to have these moments post send-off is about parents getting organised for their kid's time away with their other parent.  It cannot be estimated how much this is a really good thing for children!  They will be less stressed and upset. Most children when facing challenges like being organised, help prepare them, support them, give them the time they need to be sad, excited, nervous or happy.  Being kind to everyone is not the last minute packing mentalness that can happen, that leaves us all feeling rotten after the children have left.

Remembering it is the children who are having to move about not us.  Give them all the support and love they need.  Make time so you are able to notice how they are feeling, rather than thinking about what you are going to do after they have gone.  Tell them you will miss them, tell them you are happy they are going to spend time with their other parent, tell them that you will also be okay whilst they are gone, reassure them, hug them, let them know it is OK to message or not to message. That you totally love and cherish them.  For all their stinky hair, piles of bedroom washing and unwashed cups...  

"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"

Be the parent that stops... and here is the irony .... stopping is what makes the world go round ...

With love x

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Good Marriage and Good Divorce - Can you have both?

There was a lot that I loved about being married. We had a good marriage, we created adventures, dreams, a family, parties, companies, simply.... we were two visionaries with a gift of a life together. Creative, analytical, sensible, wild, expansive, private ... all these wonderful important attributes all in the mix of the container of our marriage.

Our 16 year union was a series of plans; some worked, some didn't, we each, with our skills, wove into a supportive life mesh a relationship for our children and ourselves. What we didn't know was that it was these skills that would ultimately carry us through our marriage ending and into and through our mindful divorce.  We chose to continue using and reworking that support structure... albeit there were hard times, but we found it more useful this way rather than letting it collapse and drain away, forgotten after the divorce conversation.   

We in society do not naturally feel guided to or encouraged to trust in a friendship with our 'soon to be ex-partner'. For many the relationship fabric dissolves leaving us with only the threads of fear and vulnerability, loneliness and anger to cling onto.  Being honest and remembering the parts of your marriage that worked for you both and taking them through into your divorce can be a most healing practice.  Letting anger go or subside so you can both be productive, sorting through what is left of companionship, parental responsibilities with respect can make the 'mindful' difference.

Fundamentally understanding your ex-partner, remembering the good and kind parts, the positive sides AND their flaws perhaps is the key to having a good divorce divorce.  This is not written lightly; the experience of marriage can be as good or bad as divorce; each with their darker and lighter corners. My divorce was not without marches up many a steep hill ridding myself of negative energy, nights crying myself to sleep or meditating so very often to calm my scattered wild mind full of thoughts, fears and worries about my children's future.

Not letting the end state of your marriage define your divorce or allowing your divorce to define the rest of your life is a gift you can truly both give each other.  Accepting and letting go rather than being resigned and holding on helped us both in our divorce so much.  

So giving myself permission to say I had a good divorce seems to be out there with a confessional "my new baby sleeps all night" conversation.  There can be a slight look of disbelief from those I meet, who have, like many divorcees had a pretty unpleasant time of it. Am I speaking my truth? Am I deluded?  So what to say? 

So finally 15 years later I can say "as a new Mum of the most sleepiest baby", I kept quiet at mother's meet ups. Certainly after the woefully sleep deprived stories shared on any said morning, I wasn't brave enough to say that my baby was indeed a wonderful sleeper. It seemed unfair to those crawling through the day, spazz eyed and caffeine fixed to say anything, but murmur the necessary words of support and encouragement.  My second dear baby was a full on re-flux screamer, so I didn't escape the unsocial lonely hours of motherhood.  I digress...

So I ask myself this - why is it as an adult I am still slightly apologetic about my good and mindful divorce?  Have I not fully given myself permission to recognize the huge regular ego-less work that was involved with mediation, conversations with lawyers and co-parenting? 

Was truly believing in a continued friendship and remaining trustful of a modus operandi that worked in our marriage going to see us through our divorce?   Is showing up and writing some of my most private of thoughts going to help others, I hope so ....

In the words of James Joyce "In the muddle is the soundance" - I like this, the reminder that in sometimes seemingly impossible situations there is something of importance happening. 

What I do believe is that within everything challenging and difficult therein dwells something good and positive... it's remaining brave enough to trust that just somewhere it is there, you can do the right thing and sleep better too...

With love Natasha x

Friday, 19 August 2016

9 Ways to Avoid Trouble on a Blended Family Holiday

So we are part of a blended family now and summer holidays is one of those periods of time when we really hang out together, mostly overseas with all our differences, relationships, emotions and with the fine art of balancing. 

With blended families there are many, many different relationships all bouncing off each other and whilst so incredibly rewarding for us all, still a monumental task in diplomacy, patience and mindfully letting those boundaries ease so we can accommodate everyone.  

Here are 9 potential trouble spots we avoided on our blended family holiday....

Blending Parents

Families on holiday, even the happy marital ones have expectations of how they want their annual summer kick-back time to be - whether it is a need to feel relaxed at the end of it, a shared supportive relationship experience or heightened expectations of a perfect happy holiday.  

If ever there are potential weak points that can crack open, expanding crevasse like, it is when you are on holiday and spending lots of time in close proximity.  And when headed up by the two parents involved who are not operating as a solid, respectful and loving unit is an invitation to treat with a raising of the the flag of troublesome flags up the discordant flagpole, with separate family battle stations at the ready and THEN a real necessary requirement for a gentle blended family discussion...

You as parents - talk to each other, reassure each other and remember to really LOVE each other - this is always unknown boundary work in progress... and there is definitely a place for ....

Ground Rules

Yes, yes and yes - do it, have those tricky conversations about ALL aspects of how this is going to work, before you book your flights even.  Better now than half way through the holiday, especially if you are stuck abroad no where else to go.  Write that 'wishlist' rule book, talk about the ifs and buts, the worries and concerns.  And here is the thing, KNOW that there are always going to be the fast balls appearing even when you least expect them.  
For example logistics of babysitting if you and your lovely other half want a romantic dinner for two.  Do not be expecting the eldest to shoulder responsibility, a babysitter from the 'other' family is not always going to listened to or respected - so get a baby sitter in or sit out the romantic meal for when you are back... it's about sometimes letting this stuff go....

If you are thinking that no prior conversations about ground rules need to be applied on a blended family holiday or worried about having this chat, you are going to have blended family outcry.  


Fussy eaters - try letting it go, cook for what suits everyone with - if you can, healthy, simple recipes. Applying battle station healthy eating rules on holiday for a couple of weeks is not going to make anyone ill, only yourself by stressing about food. If you want to keep things healthy make a joint parental stand about unlimited soft fizzy laden drinks and ice creams - keeping the peace with water is good in hot climates, less expensive for everyone and the kids are a whole load more calmer too.

Sleeping Arrangements and Patterns

With teenagers and younger ones - just knowing that being quiet in the mornings is helpful, if you have teenagers - they don't operate best on early rowdy mornings.  Just by getting your kids out of the sleeping areas, down to the pool or outside playing cards - can make a difference - everyone is happier and if you as a couple may not get your cosy morning love ins try practicing acceptance and letting this go for the couple of weeks rather than feeling resigned.  

Oh and electronics help too ... 


The world as we know it is stuffed full of apps for communicating, games and entertainment... make a conscious decision to limit times for family fun, bring games with you that you can all play - the joys of Go Fish, Cheat and board games cannot be underestimated for family conviviality.  There can be many a shared union of laughter, togetherness and joy at all of you sitting around a table all playing together.

Energy Levels

Different kids have different energy levels, finding yourself on holiday with energy monkeys can be exhausting. A little forward planning of activities that encompass these different personalities keeps everyone happy.  Do not expect everyone to operate the same way, kids will adapt if you BOTH are willing to work at it. Finding parts of the day for everyone to have their busy and quiet time will pay dividends towards a more harmonious blended family holiday.

Male to Female Ratio

So not every blended family gets the kid mix right, finding each other in the world in itself with all the life baggage is a wonder second time round, let alone being with a partner who has children of the same age, sex and temperament.  Being mindful of the single daughter in a bunch of boys is important. Letting the girls go off and have dinner or shopping can be wonderfully balancing to the full on boy energy.  Equally if there is a single boy the same principles apply.  

Ages too are to be taken into account, hanging around a kids play area is not a happy teenager going to make nor is sitting on a sun lounger all day listening to Spotify going to work out male testosterone... a blended family holiday is WORK IN PROGRESS and in truth it doesn't stop.

Time With Your Own Kids

Make time for your kids, especially be aware of blended family'overload'. Don't let it get to the stage where your kids are feeling the effects of not having any time with just you. Listen to them, talk to them, connect to them and spend time on your own with them, just letting them know you are there for them.  It is possible for you all to co-exist together in a pool with a couple of different games going on and they know you are there for them.  

Talking through stuff with your kids - because it is tough for them too sometimes is really necessary... full on blended family life can be exhausting for everyone... all these personalities bundled together for intense periods of time if not managed well can lead to resistance, a feeling of not being heard and future negativity.

And finally ...

Missing Their Absent Mums or Dads

Be prepared for your little people to miss their other parent.  This is okay, it is normal especially if they don't always live with you. It is not because you are doing a bad job - its just that it's their other significant parent who is not around.  Be mindful this can happen, they will want to connect, to catch up and perhaps tell them what a great time they are having, that they are simply missing them.  Giving yourself and the other children permission to include the other absent parent is important - be prepared for this, support it and see what a difference it makes for the children's well-being.

So why even go on holiday as a blended family? Why put yourselves through the craziness of balancing it all for a potentially monumental diplomatic couple of two weeks, washing up and very little time on your own as a couple? Because my friends you love each other, you care about each other and at some point all these little people in this new family set up are going to be gone, flown the nest and not wanting to be on a family holiday so much any more.  

Investing in blended family holidays can be immensely rewarding, with much laughter, fun and inclusion into something really wonderful that is a new fabric of a family holiday.... BLENDED! 

With love xx

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Divorce Goddess With Kids on Holiday - Bikini Perils

So what has happened to all the topless sunbathing on Mediterranean beaches? 

I was recently speaking to a friend about our mutual joy of sunbathing topless and how last time I was in Greece - over 20 years ago, I had fondest memories of topless freedom. So back in the day, if you were respectful and on the 'right' beach your holidays would always, if you were so inclined, come to a glorious brown boobed end... and no white triangles disturbing the brown peace on my upper body. 

So being here once again and really no one, not one female is feeling the need to remove her bikini top and the freedom that perhaps was once had is so really now gone.
I find myself reverting to defiant child mode and sneakily bagging the lilo, taking it a full 50m out to sea to remove my bikini top and exposing my boobs to a little sunnage .... whilst saving my children from the angst, embarrassment and possible humiliation of any judgement associated with "mi mam's boobs are out"!  And so since putting fingers to keyboard for this blog I have been joined by three more females, all topless on their lilos ... I love this!

So when did this all boob browningness grind to a halt?  Having lived in countries where it really is not 'de rigeur' to be obvious about one's body and showing of flesh I full understand the offence it causes in some cultures - I really get it and have been aghast at the lack of respect afforded by some nationalities when holidaying in said countries.  

So why is is it just not like that anymore in the Westernized world?  Has sunbathing topless become, like so much in the world fraught with a paranoid no's, social media angst or judgement.  Much of it being the worse kind JUDGEMENT and that is of self?

Why do so many of us walk onto the beach, nervous at the prospect of being seen devoid of wardrobe body armour? We buy beautiful swimwear in anticipation of stepping onto the beach and then when we finally do feel the sand between our toes, there is this maybe shyness of being on show. Our wonderful bodies exposed in all their glorious individual format, with scars, dimpling, stretch marks and all the extraordinary shapes and of all sizes.

The most embarrassed I used to get was picking up my photos. If you didn't do Trueprint (you know the little crunchy envelopes in airport stands waiting to welcome you home with a cheap offer, if you could wait, of posted developed photos). Your holiday snaps would be handed to you with a cheeky knowing grin by the young guy serving you behind the photo shop counter, with full knowledge that you were one of those risque girls brave enough to go 'sans' a bikini top when on holiday. 

So for me a trip to a beach in the height of summer is an encouraging, helpful and confidence saving experience ...  us amazing women are all out there in all our beautiful forms of amazing bodily wonderment. Tight, wobbling, firm, less firm, glistening, brown, white, freckled, pink, tall, short, large, small, the whole gamut of human beings.  So what has increased our self-judgement, our shame and awareness....?  What is it that has changed so much?

Social media my friends, the fear attached now to the devices that accompany us everywhere is what is sending us all into a paranoid state of being in such a gorgeous natural environment such as a beach... the permanent awareness that affects so many on a negative level when a phone is bandied about.  A 'happy holiday' scenic panorama photo of the beach can send us hiding our Factor 50 faces into our brightly coloured rafia beach bags, or affecting a 'look' with hastily put on sunnies or a quick ab crunch while said shot is taken.....   ahhhhhhh!

And the thing is I really do not care, I am here to relax, to enjoy my children's company and to come back home feeling a little healthier, browner and relaxed.  However there are new words in the English language and etiquette rules and it would seem as I was joyously loving the waves that presented themselves to us all on a Cretian beach yesterday... my bikini was not the best. I admit, for body surfing it wasn't great; bottoms a little large - hey hey and top a little revealing for delighting in the ocean surge....

*"Nip Slip Mum" came the charged call ...."Mum!" a whole load more loudly fired so soon after .... oh blimey, I thought, stop laughing and pay attention .... it was a brilliant proud Nip Slip I have to say and I was instantly transported back to a Greek beach in my early 20s. However my sweet memory was short lived as I tugged the offending bikini triangle back
into place... my joy in the waves slightly more measured by said bikini dysfunction as I tumbled, swam and smiled for the next hour still mindful of the term "Nip Slip" in this social media governed world ...

With love x

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Divorce Goddess & Kids on Our Summer Holiday - Travelling

So for the first time we are on holiday on our own, the island of Crete giving us its best - sunshine, a lovely apartment and warm Mediterranean sea with beautiful sunsets and I was prompted to write several overdue blogs on what that means for me and my children.  

So here is the first ... 

I have a beautiful 15 year old girl and a handsome 12 year old son and we are fully embracing all that comes with warmer climes and with it all those slightly different scenarios, all so very different than holidaying with a Partner or Husband or Wife. So we have been on our own for a lot of our time together, whilst I was married and afterward.  Having lived in the Middle East for some of our life we are used to the heat, used to the regular application of sun cream but nothing really that fully supports those differences of not having 'another' there to guide you when things get a little tough.  


Firstly we had the OMG I forgot my UK driving licence at the airport situation which so kindly presented itself to us yesterday... it was forgotten, left tucked away in a drawer in the UK, not added to essential documents much needed when so clearly necessary.  "I am sorry, but there is no way you can rent the pre-booked car, the insurance won't cover it" PAUSE FOR NOT MUCH BREATH...... comedic eyeballs on stalks and a sharp eeeeek as the rock of stress firmly embedded itself into my solar plexus and the potential for the self-flagellation yielding its disaster magma throwing arms at me... it is 36 degrees, we have some BIG heavy bags and a long journey local buses... I rub my tum, trying to practice acceptance, being gentle to myself and the letting go of the impending journey of not one, or two but three bus rides ahead or a hefty taxi fare of 200 euros... the bus rides won!  

The children look forlorn, teenage daughter is cross, quite rightly so - it's so hot, she is in jeans and trainers and we walk across the airport car park to a bus ticket booth with grumpy ticket seller objecting to a 50 euro note hastily removed from the airport cash machine.  No matter, he helps us and we get on the bus and a kindly - I love kindly people - a German lady tells us she is also going to the Heraklion bus station heading westwards and she shows us the way.  

We are offloaded and make our way down side streets to said bus station, it is chaotic, hot and stressful...I am trying not to think of such a large amount of money wasted on the car hire, the return journey we will be facing and what is ahead of us for the next few hours. I breathe deeply into my solar plexus... 

We get on the next bus and journey length ranges from 4 hours to 2 1/2.... my mindfulness kicks in wonderfully and the salve of positive thinking allays my fears and I choose to believe in the shorter time journey. I begin to read a work related book, on mindfulness and I breathe, I meditate for 45 mins - unexpected pleasures of having a long bus journey and not driving, at having mindfulness in my life and understanding that it is with you always. 

We are then blessed with compassionate Greek people - seeing the single mum and her two children and really helping us get to our destination without further angst and we arrive, 5 hours later. The car hire company reimburses me almost all the money after a brief call and we then make our way to the beach, grateful for the warm sea water, the cooling sand and a wonderful sunset after a long day.  

So why the story, well here is the thing, in so many respects this scenario would probably have created an almighty argument on the first day of the holiday with said other, partner, husband or boyfriend, the blame game kicking in and grumpiness for the next 5 hours of buses ... instead the children and I spoke kindly to each other, supporting each other and grateful for our loving supportive company.  

Sometimes being, although difficult and scary, the only adult in charge has huge upsides, if you as the said adult can manage the thoughts and feelings emanating from life's unexpected fast balls. And so as we sat and watched the sun go down, with a cooling drink and local dishes, we chatted to each other about the value of our love for each other, that we cannot always get it right and that sometimes three is better than four...

With love x

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Post Divorce First Date Dilemmas - Clothing

So here we go .... arriving sometimes a little unexpectedly at this place where no longer does the ending of that relationship or divorce feel like the big shadow on your life and you think you can take that scary step out into the long forgotten world of dating... 

A kindly friend has set me up on a date, eeeek in itself.... asking my daughter to babysit comes with the inevitable curiosity of "where are you going tonight", "who are you meeting Mum?" and you find yourself telling that first little white lie... hmmm "just a friend" and for the record I really hate lying especially to my children.... They then ask whether they know this friend? Sensory overload of the uncomfortable mother comes back with "erm a friend of a friend"... "who?"  The questions come thick and fast, whoooah.... I wasn't prepared for this, how can each one of us, so individual and so different in this world know how to be with what is before them except how they are feeling in the present moment?

Understand that the questions quick fired by those whose sole purpose in this situation is to monitor the emotional radar in my already jumpy tummy and this makes me feel wobblier.   I am now asked ...."Mum so what are going to wear?"  Yes, good question.... its been some time since the dating 'wow' favourites existed my wardrobe and I doubt whether any of them still do, fit or really look like 80s throwback party pieces... I mindlessly open the wardrobe, my brain full of uncomfortable whooshes already with possible judgementals beating their drums at a lively tapas bar.... I feel the contractions of fear literally rolling up their sleeves at the wardrobe dysfunction to follow... my mind goes blank... 

I mindfully breathe a few deep breaths then start to try and look at the situation.  This is the wild woman sisterhood stepping out I am talking about, who am I now is where I am, and unhelpful thoughts of "is what I am wearing going to get me a second date, if of course we are both interested in going any further than the padron peppers and pulpo?...  

I breathe some more, coming into the present moment, my tummy tense, I give it a rub with my hand as I breathe, this helps me relax and then as our minds can be so flighty I then obediently follow my wild mind into the past and what I had worn before.  This is of course no help, a few smart dinner party silk dresses shimmy over my hands, trusty and worn tops that had seen better days and a die hard rock 'n roll T shirt with a sumptuous pair of red lips and a tongue on the front waved at me.... nothing or so I thought to go and have tapas with a stranger.  

I bring my attention back to my rail of clothes, espying a cheeky black see-throughish shirt number that merits a colourful bra strap underneath and then I stop myself... OMG as the full impact of a pink bra strap could veritably give the very wrong impression. I find my 'best bum' looking jeans winking at me, pleading with caution to put them on as a starter
... "Mum so who are you going out with tonight?" comes the sing song voices of my children, their interests picqued at my inability to seem normal in the face of a future night of possible laughter, fun and really some attention - what I could really do with. 

Ummmmm, sticking my head deeper into the hangers "what top should I wear my loves" I ask. "Depends on who you are going out with" the children are grinning, they sense evidence of weakness, "just a nice person".  This answer is clearly worth a bit of constructive advice..."This is lovely and you look really pretty in it, wear this" .... noooo I think 'really pretty' is giving off the 'pick me' energy... I want to be happy, calm and comfortably at peace with my dinner date not sidestepping advances of shared extras.  

Treading carefully and literally as a dear man I heard from told me that on his first date he treated this lovely lady to him wearing a pair of bright red shoes, he said he felt free to finally choose and have a different wardrobe whilst married.  So I have work flats and heels, a pair of guaranteed f**k me shoes and conversely the trainers that my bunion feels oh so comfortable in. I am of the opinion that after a certain age my feet would protest too much at the thought of vertiginous heels and I now feel I am in need not only of a wardobe overhaul but also of some much needed advice from those that know 'what is what' in the land of mid 40s dating singlies... 

I am no longer a welcome guest of a healthy joint account to purchase freely les vetments of sexiness and I realise I need to get clever, believe in myself a little more and realise that in the grand scheme of things that a next life partner is really going to truly find me attractive as I am.  No longer do I read fashion magazines or have them in my house to judge myself by or for my teenage daughter too and thoughts of mindlessly trawling the internet for a sassy top leaves me cold.  I have a couple of hours to go... I begin to look with a more positive eye at the end result that walks through the restaurant door.  

Confidence in myself is the sexiest attire for the evening.  Realising and reminding ourselves how much we have all been through should not be an obstacle when there is an unexpected joy to be had of just 'being out' on a Saturday night, perhaps with someone who is equally delighted to have a date. That element of gratitude comes shining through and I suddenly feel so much better.  

It is a tricky time this, for so many single 40 somethings and as I reach for the cheeky black shirt I realised that a new wardrobe in itself is a journey of self-realisation.  Being happy in your own skin is the true, honest deal, smiling your biggest smile and remembering who you are is what is to be worn... now where did I put that black bra ....

With love Natasha

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Taking Responsibility For Your Divorce?

Are you taking responsibility for your divorce? 

Recently I have found myself in the company of several couples whose marriages are not so happy .... they haven’t been happy for a long time. 

As good married couples they have trundled along...through the the long sleepless deprived stage of small children and mortgage payments, career influence and possible mid-life crises. This all interspersed with sporadic extra efforts, be it in the marital bedroom or maybe kitchen, 'team together' life happenings and well ... just because, well, being with someone you know and are unhappy with is easier and less scary than leaving.... 

And so my question is this... 

To what level of unhappiness, loneliness and I am sad to say, abuse, do we each tolerate in order to see this unsatisfying life of ours through?  What is acceptable to us as couples, that we give ourselves an easier, permissible acceptance to be miserable, lonely and at times sexually frustrated that we stay in such legal agreement? And surely if we are feeling this, are not our partners on some level feeling the same?  

Why then is there such surprise when that clear divorce gunshot rings out of the marital blue?  At what point do we start to take some personal responsibility for the demise of our relationship? Is it easier surely, to vilify ourselves by apportioning blame elsewhere for our failure to truly prescribe to the sanctified promise of forever?  Is it not right and proper that we equally take responsibility for our personal actions, thoughts and conduct whilst in our marriage? 

So is it the sadness of disappointment, the inability to take responsibility for the end of a marriage or the easier blame game that makes it so hard for so many to forgive and move on?  At what point did we choose to ignore our inner voice nudging us to pull our socks up, to work less, spend less, laugh more, kiss more…. the list of infinite life possibilities…. 


In mindfulness there is the idea that you can forgive the person, but their actions are borne out of how they are feeling at the time. You know them to be a good person so is it not worth looking at why the marriage has ended? Could it be that your partner's actions were due to unhappiness, loneliness or simply that they had fallen out of love? If this is the case, is our extraordinary life worth time with someone who feels this way?  

So I hear cries of what about the children? Yes the children... I agree - so what about our responsibility as a committed married couple who are able to show our children how we can laugh, hug, kiss and talk to each other? Rather than comfortably letting the children be the no-man's land buffer zone for those that cannot speak or make love, cherish or respect each other any more? 

So with cries of incredulity and pain, fear and guilt that the marital horse has bolted, are we ready yet to begin to take responsibility?

Who are we most angry with? 

Is it our marital other, a third party or is it ourselves? Are we prepared to have a look? To understand those decisions we made for the long days or nights worked, forfeiting time snuggling down with our loved one for financial gain. Or wishing we had worn our birthday sexy underwear a little more, or not chosen to live our lives through our children so we did not need to look at the up close and personal reality?  

Marriage is hard, we have the good times and the bad times, for the majority it balances out, for so many though the scales silently do dip to a private undeniable low. How then can we move on if we choose to continue standing blameless, but so wounded, waving the pained victim flag or self-righteous pointy finger at everyone but ourselves?
It is HARD having a closer look at ourselves...

It’s brutal, thinking we were so assuming that our marriage vows were water tight when so clearly they were not.  

Personally looking at the marital breakdown, it is ultimately taking responsibility for our part of the process.  It’s the jolt life hands to us sometimes, as our wake up call of what we need to look at in ourselves, be it setting boundaries, acceptance, self-worth, inner peace, truth, happiness, intuition….

Maybe tough food for thought …. and with it a wonderful poem....

With love x


If I had my life to live over again,

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
you see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments.

If I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else- just moments,
one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over,

I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
I would pick more daisies.

– Nadine Stair 85 years old

Letting go is The New Holding on in Breaking Up and Divorce

Letting go is the new holding on.... Why do we behave the same way again and again and expect everything to be different? Through my br...