Category Archives: Divorced parents

A tale of two mini breaks

A week ago I had a spa weekend which I’d bought as a special treat for my other half’s birthday and this weekend I was on a Haven holiday mini break. This is a tale of two very different, but both brilliant, mini breaks.

I had originally intended to write about these holidays separately but I couldn’t help but see these two very different holidays as a brilliant representation of my life as a divorced parent. It’s a tale of two halves – both of which are beautiful and amazing.

So first to our adults only pamper break at Lea Marston hotel near Sutton Coldfield. Other than the frustration of finding a number of children sharing the swimming pool with us (I know how that sounds, but it was a pamper break!) the weekend involved great facilities, amazing food, lots of relaxation, adult conversation and romance.

Sadly, I was so relaxed that I didn’t take many pictures at all during the weekend, but here are a couple of the facilities:

lea marston room

pool lea marston

Then last weekend I headed for a very different break – this time, with my little girl and my parents. A Haven caravan holiday by the sea at Doniford Bay holiday park in Somerset. We had predictably poor weather (since it was a bank holiday) but that didn’t stop us having a great time. Seaside views, a spacious and comfortable caravan, great kids entertainment and located in the middle of a great area of the country to investigate.

Unsurprisingly I did take lots of pictures of our seaside break so here are just a few of my favourites:

Ellie and I at Dunster Castle, near Minehead.

Our seaside views from the caravan park.
seaside doniford bay

Ellie meeting Rory the tiger at Haven! This holiday was the first time Ellie has ever actually been confident enough to meet a character.
ellie and Rory

So there you have it – a tale of two halves. Two fabulously different, but still fabulous weekends.

NB – this is not a sponsored post, nor is it a detailed review of these holidays!

Our Family Christmas

This Christmas neither of our children will be with us on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It’s one of those things that happens by virtue of the fact that my partner and I are both separated from our children’s respective other parent. It’s a fact of life and despite people’s initial reaction usually being ‘oh no, I’m so sorry’, please believe me when I say it really is ok. No I’m not putting on a brave face, or telling myself that to make it real – it really is just fine.

Our plan for Christmas may be a touch complicated but it includes: time on our own, time with grandparents and aunties and uncles on both sides of the family, and time with just our unique little family of four. That’s not a bad Christmas is it?

Yes I will miss the children on Christmas day, Yes I am praying that the magic and mystery of Father Christmas stays with Ellie for at least one more year, so I can enjoy it with her again. Ultimately though Christmas isn’t about that one day.

For me Christmas is about family time and love and there’s plenty of both of those in our Christmas plans this year. When we celebrate our family Christmas on December 27 it will be about just that.

Of course the most important thing is how the children feel about it, so I’ll let Ellie have the final word:

‘I get to see everyone at Christmas but I can’t see everyone in the same place, because there’s too many. But it’s good, because I get two lots of Christmas and presents!’

So there you go – take it from me and from Ellie, you don’t need to feel sorry for us. Our Christmas is different, but it’s still super special too.

Merry Christmas!

santa and tree

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Still making me smile

As I write this post Ellie is away with her Dad for a couple of weeks holiday. As always, I’m missing her like crazy, but despite the fact that she’s not here, she’s still managing to make me smile.

Skype surprise
Just a couple of days into her holiday, I got a text from her Dad to say that Ellie wanted to skype with me. I fired up the laptop and eagerly awaited her call. The first couple of days without her are always so hard, so I was really pleased to get to say hi. The screen showed she was on and then suddenly I could see her laying in the bath completed nude with the biggest, cheekiest, smile you can imagine on her face.

As I exclaimed ‘you’re in the bath!’ she promptly burst into a laughing fit and rolled around in the water for what felt like ages. Her pleasure and joy at surprising me was simply infectious and even hours later after the call, I was still smiling.

Sharing her news
A couple of days later Ellie was lucky enough to go on the London eye. We’d known beforehand that she might be doing that, so we had talked a little about it before she’d gone away. Clearly our conversation wasn’t forgotten, as in the middle of my working day I suddenly got a missed call from her Dad. I quickly text to say I was at work, but was everything OK. He said she was on the London eye and wanted to talk to me! That made me smile.

Later, when I did get to talk to Ellie, she excitedly told me she’d been on the eye and that she could see ‘lots of things’. I asked if it went slow like we’d said and she burst out enthusiastically that it had gone much faster than she’d thought, but she still really liked it. Her desire to share how it was and what she’d been doing with me made me smile yet again.

My cheeky girl
Finally, I was sent the following picture and all I can say is that her cheeky face just did make me smile!

photo (30)

So there it is – even when she’s away and I’m missing her she still has this knack of making me smile. I don’t know if she realises that she’s making me smile so much but either way, there’s just a few more days to go and I simply can’t wait to give her a big hug and watch our faces both light up with huge smiles once again.

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Ellie’s family – a magic moment

Last weekend Ellie had some homework to do. The instruction was simply to write some sentences about your family and ‘try to work on your own and remember to include finger spaces and full stops.’

This is what Ellie produced:


Just in case you can’t read it, it says:

My mum works very hard. 
My dad lives at London. 
My family is silly. 
I love my family lots. 
I love my mum lots. xx

The smile and pride on her face as she showed me her work was quite simply beautiful to behold. The fact that she’d put that she loved me, without any prompting, was also pretty damn special. What topped it off though is that to me this simple bit of writing spoke volumes about her acceptance of our family situation.

There is nothing like the uncertainty you feel when you separate from your child’s other parent – the questions and worries about whether they will be okay aren’t something which, in my experience so far, ever disappear. I don’t think about it often now but it is something I will always be conscious of. As I saw what Ellie had written I couldn’t help but feel overjoyed at how clearly at ease she seemed with the situation. I feel certain that Ellie knows how much both her Dad and I, and our respective families, love her and most importantly – Ellie really is just fine with it.

Before I go, just to say that I am linking my #magicmoments post up with others on the fantastic linky from The Olivers Madhouse – click below to find out more.


I miss you

By virtue of the fact that I’m no longer with Ellie’s Dad she obviously goes to stay with him regularly – every other weekend and then for longer holidays two or three times a year. This Easter, Ellie was away at her Dad’s for a week and a half, it was her 5th birthday and, I really missed her. The house was quiet and her room was empty.

Normally, when Ellie’s away I don’t write about it, primarily because it’s usually Ellie stuff I write about and I clearly can’t do that when she isn’t here. This time though I found myself wanting to write about how it feels when she’s away because it’s something I think people often don’t talk about and because, as always, there’s an element of self-therapy in writing about it.

The emotions involved are quite honestly complicated and it’s really difficult to describe. In the day before Ellie goes away it’s not unusual for me to look forward to it – it is after all a chance for me to sort stuff, have time to myself and time to spend with my partner.

Then when the time comes to wave goodbye, I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach, a kind of lurch, a kind of empty space. It’s particularly strong when, like on this occasion, she’s going away for longer than a weekend. It’s a feeling unique to dropping Ellie off and it’s a heady mix of sadness, happiness, excitement and guilt. I feel sadness because she’s going and I will miss her. Happiness because her excitement to see her Dad, step mum and new baby sister is as it should be and I love that she’s so settled with it all. I feel excitement because as I’ve already said I do make the most of the time and often appreciate the break and finally, guilt (the ever present parenting emotion) becauseI enjoy the time.

Whilst she’s away for longer periods of time I inevitably miss her more than usual and I have what I can only describe as a compulsion to make the most of the time. I fill my head with lists of things to do and achieve before she gets back – whether it’s relaxing, doing some jobs or whatever.

There are then some entirely new emotions which surface when it’s finally time to collect Ellie again. There’s always excitement and anticipation, but what you might not expect, is that after a longer holiday away I always feel a little anxious. Crazy as it sounds I worry that she might not want to come home, I worry that she’ll be inconsolably upset at saying bye to her Dad or that somehow our closeness will be affected. Now I’m not new to all this and I know in my sane head that the anxiety is not valid, but somehow it doesn’t stop me feeling it! Then again as always my little girl provides the balance and as I see her running up to me, any worries are forgotten and the only emotion I feel is simply love for her.