Part 57. Moving on?

I’m starting this post on a Sunday eve sat in the sunshine. Had an impromptu meet up with mates and my boy earlier today. We laugh so much. Just silly friend humour. No malice. No bitching, just us being who we are and enjoying each others company. It’s beautiful. A drink or two and back home. Perfect really, except it isn’t as its thought provoking about how time changes. How friendships come and go. How you have friends that come in different forms. Close friends, work friends, friends you lose touch with, school friends, cross the line into intimacy friends, the don’t see often but all click back into comfort friends, friends that are no longer friends at all… It’s a complicated thing at times to negotiate isn’t it.

I know I spoke a while back about a friend blocking me after I told her I found her fella on bumble. She chose to block me for whatever reason she did. I guess I’ll never know as I’m not prepared to speak to her about it. In fact it’s made me anti wanting to repair things. However it’s also making me wonder how tricky it is for others, when you’re all part of a friendship group that then has people fall out.

Now I’d actively encourage others to make up their own minds and not take sides. I’ve friends who others dislike but they don’t make me choose and why would they. They’re real friends. I just sit a bit uncomfortably with this relationship deterioration though as she was such a part of mine and others lives for so long. I also feel that her blocking me actually was a step too far for our other friends to take too. The group had disbanded in the way it was and I don’t think it will ever go back to including her and me at the same time.

There’s so many things that actually bother me more than her blocking me now but I need to stop giving it head space. In fact I need to stop talking about it.

So when it comes to friendships and relationships ending why is it so hard. I guess it’s as we have feelings, remorse, regrets, longing for the good times again. The things we once had.

I think going away on my own affirmed that you have to be your own best friend don’t you. That it’s us, ourselves that we have to live with day in, day out. I know my flaws and I hold my hand up to them however I also feel aggrieved that anyone could ever think I’m malicious or dramatic. I work my socks off in life. I try to do a good job and I’m proud of the respect and thanks I get on a daily basis. I know I don’t always get things right. And I know I won’t always be everyone’s cup of tea but I do hope that those who know me and interact with me know I always do everything with the best of intentions.

It’s now the following Saturday and I am still pondering things. It’s definitely consumed more of my headspace than I should have allowed it. I am aware that other people have said stuff that has got back to her and it makes it look like I have told everyone about our friendship breakup but actually what I have said to people is we’ve had a falling out and that’s all I need to say. To people who are closer I have reminded them there are more than one side to a story. And that they’re only hearing mine. I am aware I live in a village and people hear stuff. I can’t control who shares that beyond that. It is not gossip, it is our lives and I am really sad that it has ended up like this. I am ultimately choked that she blocked me from me trying to be a friend. It still sits uncomfortably with me and I guess I may always ponder that I did the right thing. In my heart of hearts telling her I saw him on bumble was the correct thing to do. I guess we will see what happens in the coming weeks when we are at an event together.

So now I’m a week on from first writing things down. Im mindful this is my thoughts and my story and obviously there’s always more than one side to a story. This next part is now an open letter to her…

Where do I start… I guess saying how I feel..
When I came and told you I found him on a dating site I did it as I thought as your friend it was the right thing to do. It didn’t feel right to do it over text, call or to ignore I’d seen him. I was simply displaying a fact, he was on a dating site. It came up and I felt sick. I didn’t know what to do.

I made the decision to come and tell you and brought the ipad as it was live on bumble and I wanted you to see that rather than a screenshot as again I felt that was what you would rather see.

I felt sick. I didn’t want to tell you that. When he gave you his reason for appearing I said oh that’s good, it explains it. I left as you’d asked me to. I understood.

What I didn’t understand is why you then blocked me on everything. In my mind I did the right thing as a friend. If I hadn’t have told you and then it came out later I can only imagine you’d be much more cross about things.

I’m Obviously not happy that it’s come to this. In fact I think about you a lot and the loss of our friendship. I am sad that one of my closest friends who we’ve gone thru so much together could eradicate me from their life. But hey, it is what it is. I’m Sorry if you felt I did the wrong thing. I’m angry you could be so dismissive of our friendship and obviously our paths will cross and I’ll happily say hello however things will never be as they were and for that I am truly sad.

I hope you’re happy and that things in your life work in the way that makes you feel good inside… We all deserve that.

Part 56. stood up

jeez, I have lost my touch (did I ever have it?). It has rocked me a bit I will be honest. It has made me wonder why anyone would do it, is it me? all of the silly things your brain churns over when you have had a knock back. But it has knocked me, despite me still shining and smiling, inside I can feel it has dented me and given me a wobble. I have only been stood up once before that I can recall and that was a loose planned thing so wasn’t a loss. This last week I had one that forgot and one that just didn’t even reply. At least one apologised – to me he didn’t forget, actually I think he knew it wasn’t going to lead to anything. I actually felt that way. I Shouldn’t have actually arranged something. Date two was from lots of chattiness and then literally agreed to meet and he never showed, or if he did he saw me and went?

Anyhow, I feel it is worse than ghosting, least with that its is like oh go fuck yourself, this was actually me going out of my way to have a date and time planned. The second one I waited too, felt like a right tit!

Out of the blue another two guys messaged me. Both at a similar time, both from a dating site I am on via FB. It is just like a group really where people chat and share their woes I guess. We are all in similar position and I know that it isn’t just me who has had this happen, none the less, it is hurtful and I just don’t get it.

So from the messages I then got, one very keen guy has arranged a chat, a walk and is keen to see me again. I liked the walk, I liked his drive and determination, I like his work ethics and that he is a good dad and still involved with his boys. I am not sure I fancied him. I just don’t know. Now is this as I was flat and a bit meh and probably a bit defeatist, or is it as I just don’t look at him and go phwoar. Now I am one to look much deeper, I will be honest. Generally the men I look at and go phwoar are the men that are dicks and want nothing more than fun. Those men are the ones I seem attracted to… FFS. The nice guys are the losers really aren’t they. They are the ones we look the other way at, the ones we don’t give the chances to. However I am not one of those. I do look at giving people chances, I am just consciously aware that I tried to date a nice guy last year and ultimately he wasn’t my nice guy. In fact he irritated me. There was only a couple of times with him that I looked and thought hmm, actually he is alright. He never set my world on fire. I want my world set on fire. The walker I do think I need to sit across a table face to face and chat rather than assessing from the walk as actually was hard to properly see his mannerisms etc. So I am not writing it off, in fact the opposite. I am embracing the possibility that he may be a good suitor. Only issue again really is that he is 30 miles away, Arghhhhhh, hey ho. He made the effort, I won’t discount that, it means such a lot. Lets see what happens huh….

Part 55. Tears

I’m having a little cry, the one that comes from nowhere but you know why, but don’t expect it. Tonight I spent time with my boy just watching crap tv and enjoying his company. I’m bloody lucky i am, we’ve had a day out together on Sunday and he makes my heart swell. I’ve had the eldest about too and although she wears her heart close to her sleeve at least i get time with her. I’m struggling with middle child and no contact, especially now i know she is learning to drive and is doing lots of things i just wish i was part of.

The tears tonight though are not from there. These tears caught me off guard. I’m on school hols so notorious for thinking…yuck! Today i thought about next steps with a guy i met a few weeks ago. I dont generally get sad about dating any more, ghosts, breadcrumbs etc just became reality so when this meeting came about I don’t think either of us felt it probably would have an impact. i have come off the phone really sad that i have met an amazing person however reality and practicalities of life and lifestyle mean its unrealistic to have a sustainable relationship with him. How people do long distance and get a good balance is beyond me. Stupid thing is he said on his profile immediately that distance was an issue… he has an aging EV that has such a small range. For two dates I drove over an hour to meet him, then the next time 90mins to see him. Now whilst I would love to do this regularly, work, son, commitments just mean we can’t do this, plus petrol to do this trip for just a few hours is probably costing me at least a tenner each time😔.

He came up on a local dating fb page, and I commented on his lovely warm post and he turned me down stating distance as an issue, but then he messaged me a day later and said he would be a fool not to meet me. From the off I liked him, he’s quirky and kind, funny and there’s something about him that absolutely makes me think he’s absolutely fab. There was a worry when I read a Fb post or pic that made me wonder about his political leanings but actually even that we spoke about and I got his perspective.

He’d asked to meet tomorrow, however i have pondered it all day. Even for him to get just that little bit closer to me in his EV means possibly him stopping in a town for several hours to charge his car and then if that doesn’T pan out, he’s stuffed. I cant live with that, but I cant also live with the impracticality of driving an hour (30 miles along crap roads) to then have to find somewhere to meet and have a snog in the car. What’s shocked me is that I am actually gutted… He’s the first person that i have clicked with on so much more of a level than superficially. He’s the first person that I think i have noticed look at me with something deeper than just desire and it fucking kills me that I just haven’t come across people like that.

Im not a modest person, im pretty sure i have spoken previously about me and my looks, weight etc. for the first time in what I can recall I am happy, Im not self loathing of what I see when I look in the mirror despite knowing I am curvy and could be slimmer if I pit effort in again… but I actually like me and who I am, curves and all. Im fed up of chasing astethic. Im at ease with me, my personality despite having two significant relationships disappear within the last six months. My life is not perfect however I am genuinely in a great place, and the tears tonight are because this was a what if things were different, my sliding doors I guess? IF dating was just about fucking, well I could have that every day of the week, we all could! When it comes to intelligence, spark, common interests, well that shit is hard to find, trust me I have hunted high and low. So I’m off for a good cry into my pillow…. and hope this was sent to me as a vision of something better still to come!

Part 54. Finding The Magic

My friend turned up with this last week. One for me and my son. We’re both keen to embrace positive vibes, Gratitude and things that make us happy. I’m done with giving negativity my time. I’ve lost too many hours to overthinking and procrastination that inevitably turns to negative thoughts.

Since I got back from the cruise I’ve definitely found I’m more attuned and positive in general. Yesterday I popped to a wellbeing event and it was filled with people I’ve worked with over the years, all promoting positivity within their job roles. It felt great to have such lovely people doing what they do and encouraging others in whatever way suits. Whilst my goody bag book was aimed at young people, I’ve read a fair bit and love the sentiment that Marcus’ book has!

The only vibes we should let in our brains are the ones that fuel us to do the best we can possibly do, and of course sometimes we need to have that negative thought, dark moment, whatever it is, to fuel us to get motivated. I am a firm believer that you really do need those rock bottom moments to be able to make the changes in life. I’d never have booked that cruise if the previous months had not been rocky! In fact it spurred me on. My sentiment very much was very if my life is as a single person half the time why not make it count and enjoy it more than I ever have. The result… The best week I can honestly say I’ve had in well, I can’t recall. And every day was filled with joy. I can’t remember last week I had away that was just pure joy, in fact usually ends up tetchy at some point.

It’s a strange concept to feel absolutely happy and I’m sure there’s something ready to knock me off my pedestal at some point however I’m a realist, and I’m going to embrace the love I’m feeling right now anyway. On Friday a parent stopped me at the gate that I stand at daily welcoming families into school. She told me every day I brighten her up and she loves what I wear, my smile, my vibe. She absolutely made my day and at the end of the day I told her that message made me feel amazing all day. I messaged another lady I know this morning, who also stopped me in a shop the other day and pretty much told me the same thing. I just thanked her and told her she brightened my day, in turn that message she replied so positively and hopefully I made her smile too.

I’ve spent so long not being able to do that when I’ve been in that dark place. To now acknowledge, be grateful and accept in a non modest way just feels fabulous… Long may it continue ❤️👋👌

Part 54. Adventures await

I’m starting this blog sat at Gatwick waiting for my first flight alone on what I’m hoping will start a love for more adventures far and wide. I’m likely to add a bit daily and just tell my story as I go. Not in keeping with how I’d usually blog but I’m thinking it’s going to be a great way of capturing my feelings along the way.

Sunday – I’m off on a cruise on my own… Just me, myself and I, and I’m beyond excited. Never did I think I’d be off on my own let alone by cruise but here I am. I actually never dreamed the Caribbean was a possibility either. I only booked it a few weeks ago. So I suppose a bit of a whim. I have never done anything like this. i have done plenty on my own at home, but this is a first flight alone and holiday, and I have never been near a cruise ship. Nor do I like water much. Bit of a nightmare with having to make sure pcr, antigen etc all come through negative but I’m sure the faff will be so worth it. I rocked up to the airport after a little escapade running along to the long stay car park, honestly…only could be me who tries to follow instructions to walk from a just park location and end up accessing some dodgy route… I must have looked very random walking/ legging it along the length of the road with double red lines and shuttle buses. Luckily I came across the long stay car park, so a freebie shuttle to the airport, but maybe the taxi would have been the smartest option 🤪 hey ho, I’ve arrived safely and thats all that matters I guess! eek, lol!!!

First stop is Bridgetown, Barbados where I’m expecting it will be amazing and then off to sea stopping at various ports!

OK… So the journey was a little delayed. Thanks covid! Tui were amazing in the end, despite boarding us and then being sat in lounge then on plane with no one to take us. They had several staff test positive and Barbados has strict rules on pcr/antigen so pretty much several members of the crew had to be replaced last minute. It did feel like a long flight but quite amazing staff and service meant that it wasn’t a hardship. Decent meal, plenty of complimentary drinks, lovely afternoon tea.  Luckily I was sat with two lovely people on plane which makes world of difference. Even better when they both grew up in your neck of the woods. Getting off the plane you bypass the airport straight to bus to take you to the port where you have to provide evidence of absolutely everything. Again a bit of a wait but faultless. Straight onto the boat and pretty simple briefing and onto pina colada and drinks. I managed to stay up to 2am BST which was 9pm in Barbados and not bad going as I was up from 4am and only managed a snooze on the plane. Well I say snooze, it was probably more mouth open, dribbling looking sexy as hell 😉 I’m such a bloody lightweight though, usually tucked up with a cuppa 😆. Luckily the guys from the plane kept their eyes out and finally found out their names and again they made me laugh whilst we had a drink together. I have affectionately named them R&R.

In Port at Barbados
As a single traveller on a budget, an inside cabin worked out fine. I only needed it for sleep, shower etc. The rest of the time I was too busy out and about.

I put myself to sleep on Sunday and arrived at Monday- and obviously my body clock was trying to get the better of me but I was resolute in making sure I was not going to be up at silly o’clock. Did consider watching sunrise but I was too shattered really and then ended up at breakfast for 7 and on the decks by about 7.30. The usual with loads of sunbeds reserved but me being alone doesn’t hinder finding a space. In fact there’s loads where I’m sat now. The location means that sun sets at about 6pm so I’ll definitely get to see some sunsets! Currently watching lots of people do laps of the deck trying to keep fit. I’m going to mooch about later but not worried as I know I’ll be exploring when I get off each day at port. Today is a day at sea which is probably most needed after a long day travelling.

I haven’t booked any trips yet so I need to arrange them later. I’m keen to explore and take plenty of photos along the way. So far not much to take pictures of apart from the heavy clouds and sea 😂. Not sure that I’m too at ease with the swaying of the sea motion at times. I suppose as the week goes on you get used to it and thankfully I only have a whole day at sea today. Already seen a school of dolphins swimming past the ship this morning which was simply stunning. This afternoon we bypass Monserat and will see the aftermath of the volcano.

Dolphin’s alongside the boat

Monday pm was a bit of a wash out at times. Loads of rain and deceptive winds so I’m rosy red, stupid aren’t I. I did have lotion on, but obviously not as frequent! So cross with myself I never burn, I am so careful. I’ve had to buy sea sickness tablets as I’ve felt absolutely ropey all day and it’s felt pretty nasty. Luckily a lovely couple pointed out where to head to get some. Booked my trip for tomorrow so let’s hope being on land helps me fare better! It’s forecast rain though 🌧️. The first stop is BVI and the trip is Virgin Gorda- fingers crossed it really is as beautiful as it looks on the trip itinerary.

The meal this evening was in the restaurant and it was amazing. It was effectively Captain’s dinner but they weren’t doing any of that at the moment. Great menu and the flavours 👍👌.  So lucky to be sat next to people who are happy to chat and that’s made a world of difference and made me laugh. Never going to remember their names though. I’m so glad I’ve took the risk to come away and do this!  After dinner I looked around to see R&R a few tables away, so off to a show, battle of decades game and then a silent disco! So pleased that the sea sickness tablets have kicked in. I was proper letting my hair down and loving life. I was dressed in my posh outfit so it dint really lend its self to try to do the running man in a full length dress and wedge shoes 😝. Was lucky enough to have met with R&R and it was hilarious dancing the night away.

Arancini, pumpkin and spinach tart and rhubarb cobbler

Tuesday- well Tuesday was so busy that I’m only writing this on Wednesday. I know,😂 who would have thought I was so busy that I’d not have much free time! Honestly, yesterday I felt full of warmth, rich in spirit and soul. The morning was very easy going, lay in and a bit of a later breakfast, a wander into Road town. Managed to nab some free WiFi and could touch base with home. There wasn’t much there so I headed back for a chill at the decks and ended up chatting with a couple before heading off on a trip to Virgin Gorda. Wow, what a place! I can only describe it as huge boulder rocks, crisp clear water, white sand and the most stunning of views. I’d sat with a family of four who had actually been near me on the plane. It is so strange how offering to take their picture led to us sitting together and me clicking with the most amazing mum and ultimately just had a lot in common despite our age difference. She made me feel so good! isn’t it amazing how strangers can absolutely bring you out to chat about things that you wouldn’t dream of telling people at times but often we are drawn to the people who just get it! The trip was via boat then open sided trucks to a park and access to the two beaches. You had to climb, stoop, shimmy through but I tell you, amazing. I’m so glad I booked it. I think meeting the family and chatting also just made everything feel so good. I guess it made the positivity flow more.  In the evening by coincidence that family plus the couple I’d spoken to earlier in the day were seated next to me, so the couple invited me to sit with them and we ate dinner together and on to the show. I really struggled to keep awake though so I was tucked up in bed by 10pm. I know it seems pointless to come away and not embrace everything, but I’m hopeless when I’m tired and it’s not fun to be struggling. I wonder if this is a bit of a jetlag thing? A bit of reading led to head nodding into sleep and then we arrived at…

❤️
Virgin Gorda

Wednesday – so now I’m up to date again. I did set my alarm this morning to catch the sunrise but I didn’t need to… I was awake and snoozing from 5am. I took a wander outside and caught the sunrise, had a trip back to bed before going to the restaurant. I’d done buffet a couple of mornings, however I’ve come to the conclusion that being waited on is much easier as a single traveller, none of that faff of looking for a space, leaving belongs etc. Plus I’ve worked hard for this, its nice to be waited on and choose off a menu. I was greeted with a favourite as a special, buttermilk pancakes and compote. So definitely worth the visit. Currently I’m up on deck. Having a read in between writing here. Today we are Philipsburg, St Maarten. I’m going to explore in a while. There’s a water taxi I can get to the beach, but I’ll see how I go.

The sunrises at these Islands are just beautiful

So I ventured off the ship, And there was very little to see in Port. So I hopped on the water taxi to the beach. Wow, wow, wow. Crystal clear and warm water. I walked the length and just took in the view. Bumped into my lovely family of mates from yesterday and then headed to a bar for a beer and WiFi. There was absolutely no hassle along this beach and I loved just wandering with the sun on my skin but wandering through the water. Back to the boat this afternoon for a lovely salad and time just chilling.. Hurrah 👌, plenty of balance today.

St Maarten

Wednesday evening was just beautiful. Myself and the couple (R&R) I met on the plane spent the evening together. Lots of deep chat over drinks, however we roared with laughter in-between. My heart feels full, the smile is genuine and big and I am just in absolute pride and awe of doing this. Again it just put me in the frame of mind that you are drawn to your likeminded people. It was a fantastic evening. I slept well and had a bit of a lie in and arrived at…

Thursday- I woke up and it was like Id had lip fillers, I have the sorest sunburnt lips so again I am cursing myself and my stupidity of not packing a decent sun screen. Today is my middle child (daughter who is still not speaking with me) birthday. I managed to get WiFi to wish her happy birthday yesterday, and then I was blocked! Today it’s played on my mind a bit however I have had a word with myself and remembered its out of my control so instead I went out on a trip and pushed it to the back of my mind. I was determined that this was not going to bring me down, however I kept being drawn back to thinking 17 years ago and nurturing her. .The trip was named “The best of St Kitts”. First stop was a botanical garden and I was a bit worried that the tour would be shit after that little trip. Five mins max with very little to see. However it went on to be much better. A wax dipping place where you saw examples of art they’d created and then on to a Fort. Well omg, it was so beautiful. It kind of reminded me of a trip to Granada with the rich green hills behind and it was such a view. I can’t really describe it as more than a Fort, however it’s place up on the hill overlooking the sea would have been a terrifying sight for any ships approaching it back when it was doing its job. I remember seeing Vesuvius a few years ago and it was much the same feeling of awe. After the next stop, a view of Nevis and on one side the Atlantic, the other the Caribbean, I headed back to the ship and I’ve read, drank, relaxed and just found some inner peace if I’m honest. I’m now currently typing this section whilst waiting at the glass house restaurant for tapas and I’m alone tonight. I’m going to head for the comedy entertainment and try look out for people I know and work from there tonight. I feel pretty at peace with myself. I’ve put a dress on that I love and feel comfortable in my own skin. Honestly if this is healthy selfishness at it’s best then I really am living my best life! I’ve tried a couple of different cocktails this week, usually it’s a pina colada but I’ve upgraded so I can have different premium cocktails. Tonight I’ve discovered a rum runner ❤️, think a strawberry type smoothie with white rum… Yum!

I know I’m all inclusive and I could be of the fill my boots mentality however I’m not. I’m glad that I’m actually not trying to add to the mid paunch any further. I did have a day of cocktails and naughty food but even then it wasn’t it extreme.

Thursday evening was the glass house for evening meal and again just insanely good. Tapas followed by pizza and then on to the comedy show. Met my lovely friends along the way. Well the guy in front of us from the plane was the comedian and the guy who thought he was going to heckle was the guy who got the biggest amount of stick. It was kind of old school comedy with a modern twist, a bit of magic but ultimately hilarious. I was a heckler at a comedy show the other week, I am quite embarrassed by it tbh. I can see why as a comedian you have to be quick thinking especially with pissed up people. He did a great job of bringing Heckling George and his Partner down. He’s doing a late night show tonight so we’ll see how that goes! I’m kind of scared about how quick the week has gone and ultimately how little I’ve been alone. I was just thinking that when I started this blog nearly two years ago it was concentrated on my quest to find my one. However I think I’ve found the one, in me. Soppy? No but maybe the realist in me is starting to really find me. I’m not sure I’ve found all of Jen yet however I feel that I’m much further along in my journey than I was.  I know I’ve often spoken about that impending loneliness and my ability to shut myself away almost insular. I do think that just in these few days I’ve felt the least lonely I’ve felt in years, and that’s with all spending time alone, it’s just different as I have stopped and chatted and I’ve actually got the ability to do that back home, I’ve just kind of forgotten that. It doesn’t have to be anything planned, even just wandering then chatting along the way. I love that too. I am genuinely interested in other people and their lives. I chatted with a guy who is “Hiking for little heroes”.

Friday – and today I’m not living for the weekend as I know the reality of that means heading home 😢. However still in the present! I’m in St. John’s, Antigua at the moment… Its just started absolutely chucking it down, like proper thumping rain and I was supposed to be heading to the beach with R&R 😂☔. I’m not even certain this is going to lift much tbh!

The rain on the plants at the taxi rank. It was gone not long after this!

Well I should learn to be more optimistic! The sunshine at the beach was insanely good. The view, picturesque! And it was just the most chilled time. The sea clear, the beach white and most definitely a place I’d love to come back to and explore. Visiting on the cruise definitely gives good for thought about where to head for a staying holiday. I am definitely drawn to these picturesque places, particularly white and golden sand places. Without a doubt, a beach is often my go to happy place in any weather. Even better when it is late 20s and stunning views. The smell of weed was a bit overwhelming at times but none the less didn’t ruin the beauty of the place. The red phone box on the beach was just stunning! The colour pop just enhanced the rest of the beach. It was nice that it was only a couple of rows deep sunbeds too as as when it is properly packed it ruins the tranquility. I loved the vibe and even though there was people up and down the beach selling their lucky lucky, it was totally different from what you get at a resort say in Lanzarote. At one point we could hear the girls next to us chatting and then at the other end of the row another two women, turns out we were all from Merseyside, what are the chances that 7 of us in a row would all be from same area and then at a beach thousands of miles from home 😜. Us northerners sure get about.

I love the pop of colour along here. I wonder how many people have got the same shot?
Perfect timing getting this shot

When I arrived back I treated myself to cake and scones rather than a lunch today. Just beautiful. I had said I would do this one day. I do love cake and a scone. I had thought I might have managed it on middle child’s birthday but in a way better not to. It would have felt wrong and brought me down more I think. It was a mixture of cakes, sausage rolls, scones. I didn’t overdo it but enjoyed every mouthful of it.

The early evening it was almost a party with people congregating on the starboard side waving and cheering the ship next door which was part of the tui fleet. We are on Marella Discovery, that was Discovery 2. Looked more like it was adults only. I was raving on the sunbed and it was pure unadulterated me. For sure living my best life. Drank several beers and cocktails but just lost myself in the moment, I have found myself doing lots of that this week, no self consciousness at all. I like that feeling. I like that I’m looking in the mirror and I am kind to myself. I like that I’m sparkling inside and you can see that.

Dinner I sat down and then the lady opposite was alone too so we nattered and put the world to rights. She thought I had been with my husband as she had seen me chatting away earlier in the week. She was on her own. Had left her husband and family behind to decide where they were heading in life. Again isn’t it strange how open and honest we are with people we have never met however with those around us we are often much more cagey, and revealing. I do share things with friends at home but often not for a long time or only really touching the surface. I liked her honesty. She said if she hadn’t come away it would have meant probably having some sort of breakdown. How amazing to find yourself in a place where you can make the healthy decision to come away and try and find balance. I hope it works for her.

I went On to meet R&R for the show and comedy. I was shattered ti be quite honest, beers, cocktails, rich food and sunshine have caught up with me again and I’ve ended up here on…

Saturday – hard to believe a week ago I was on edge waiting for the pcr etc. How time flies and a weeks perspective is so different. Today I’ve awoken to the most beautiful sun hitting the water and stunning Dominica. Off to a waterfall and Gorge this afternoon… Let’s see how today unfolds! I popped off the ship and made my way just to the outskirts of the port. It had a different feel. Still need to wear masks and the vibe was different, not unsafe, just couldn’t put my finger on it. I end up having a bit of chill time before the trip.

Love this, most definitely my favourite sign at the entrance to a port. It was so vibrant and very cleverly artistic.

Prior to the trip you had to meet in the show lounge, not sure why, whether its a limit of who can go off at once and mask wearing etc. Well our lovely friend George’s partner was on the row of seats in front. Now there is no filter, and noooo filter. Omg, she tells everyone in earshot she has just had her opium…confused looks thinking bloody hell she is brazen, but she meant Imodium. We were trying to stifle the giggles but she just got more and more honest and revealing. I won’t look at my poppies in the same way again 😜. We heard about her freebie botox on the nhs (if it wasnt free I would be asking for a refund 😂), then she proceeds to tell us about her trips to her lady Dr at hospital where she always comes out walking like John Wayne, by this point the seats were shaking from the laughter. She then mentions she lives the next town over from me, you know its inevitable our paths will cross… jeez! I have to laugh but at the same time it is incredibly sad to know that this is someones reality and that they are so vulnerable.

Mama and Papa falls

Off to the waterfalls and Gorge. I was incredibly nervous as they advertised it as swimming for 5-10 min and I’m not the strongest of swimmers. After a bit of mild panic it actually was pretty decent. To be honest the swimming wasn’t the issue, more the muppets around who seemed to have no concept of personal space. when you got into the gorge itself it was calm but then a real string current. The waterfall was fierce, the pressure from it was overwhelming in a way. You know when you feel chuffed with what you achieve, well there was that moment today and telling myself I can do this. It’s definitely something that’s often mind over matter. R&R have been incredible with me and even in the Gorge I was safe with them and reassured. I wonder why I ponder these things so much and make them feel so unachievable in my mind when in reality there’s no reason I can’t do anything. It is very much mind over matter! Isn’t it strange how we can readily talk ourselves out of something when we’re on our own but when there’s that security from another positive person it flips it up on it’s head. I’m so glad that I’ve done this and for the first time ever I’m seriously contemplating the tattoo that I’ve always talked myself out of. I know I can do it and it’s momentary pain really! I wasn’t even too self conscious about stripping into a bikini in front of others and then redressing. I managed to catch a glimpse of our tour guid getting changed, fuck me, what a body❤️😜 I am not so sure why the build up and panic gets to us at times, I am just incredibly glad R&R were going or else this would probably meant avoidance booking it. However maybe not, my outlook for sure is generally more positive.

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with C
Moody, and breath taking
I was trying to take this from a camera pouch whilst swimming and sadly its blurry, but this is the gorge used in one of the scenes from the dead mans chest movie with Johnny Depp. There was still holes from the rigging used to film it.
The water was fierce. They said the mornings trip could stand underneath as it was calmer, so there must have been significant rainfall.
Rachel managed to take this one, she was quite taken with the photos from the samsung s22 ultra.

Saturday evening was such a hardship 😂😂. Great company, plenty of wine, couple of cocktails, a show. I mean like really living my best life this week. Honestly I have never felt as much at ease with myself and others. It is hard to remember you are on the cruise sometimes, walking out of the bars and restaurants is like walking away from a top notch night out, but you can flit from one space to another. I’m not sure what I was searching for before the cruise, but whatever it was I’m certain that I’ve found it. It’s been everything I could have asked for and more! I’m the most at ease with myself I can recall being and less anxious about so many things. The overthinking is without a doubt less.

Smoky mojito
This was beautiful. I didn’t realise I could get these until tonight, brought out in a clear case and you take it out whilst it is still smoking
A sneaky shot of the show…

Sunday disappeared in a blur as it was departing day. I got back into my room on Saturday night and I was just so drunk but full of joy and Sunday was much the same but with the sadness of reality creeping back in. However I do think if your holiday is a joy it’s much nicer to walk away with those amazing memories! I’m sat at home, jet lagged and still swaying but Im full of enthusiasm and joy. Yesterday was the first time I’ve nearly seen two separate couples potentially be offloaded from the flight. I’m not sure if they were all pissed or just arse holes about going home but I felt for the flight attendants. The heckled old boy from the comedy night was one of the star attractions to many, yet him and his partner were two of the ones that were asked if it was safe to fly them. I know many of us like a drink, but when it’s so excessive that you are nearly kicked off a flight I wonder when the time is to have a word with yourself! When you’re on it from 10am daily and then begging for dollars in the Airport, surely there’s some part of your inner self that tells you enough is enough? Hey ho, that is their battle not mine. I need to remember I need to be most concerned about me and my life, and whilst it is in me to be kind to others and also part of my job, the only way I can thrive is by being my own best mate and being the best version of me to me.

So what have I learnt from this…so much! Pack moisture rich sunscreen not oil, make sure you have sunscreen for lips. Take a little bag, you still need something to carry card and phone/camera. Going without wifi is a pleasure, it helps you reconnect with the world around you. It is easy to grab wifi in port if you need it. Make sure you take the best camera you can, the colours need to be picked up. Notice people, pass compliments and receive ones back graciously, even the sequin number was worth the itching for the amazing love I got for the dress. Chat, people will either chat back or not, it is not a personal thing, everyone is different, however you will be drawn to your likeminded people. Going away alone is amazing if you are comfortable with yourself. Popping out at each port gives you a good feel for a place. Tat in the shops is much the same in whatever tourist trap you are in. Eat in the restaurant, it is much nicer, you can still gave whatever you want but you are waited on. Take in what is recorded on your daily itinerary and what time you need to be back on board. Take pills for every eventuality. Above all be you, enjoy yourself, do what suits you. Have the best time and make awesome memories, until the next time, you were a blast.

Apologies if it was a bit broken up along the way, I have lost parts of the blog from not saving, arggghhhh.

Part 53. Happiness

I’ve an outstanding blog to upload but I need to fine tune it as it’s from my holiday and is different to my usual blogs, as in it is almost a diary of my trip. Since I’ve been back I’ve almost found myself on this absolute high and like it’s been an absolute tonic for me.

So is happiness a state of mind, a journey, destination? All of the above? Whatever it is, its a real sense of self. That’s not to say I’ve not felt other feelings in between. In fact I cried on Friday night as I miss my friend who blocked me (post51?). However I’m not sure if it’s I miss just the happy times as I know that we’ve also had our friendship moments that haven’t felt happy. I’m at a place though that I’m not prepared to allow someone who would block me so easily, (from me trying to look out for her) to take any more happiness from me. I’m still sure I did what a friend would do in trying to look out for her. However she obviously felt differently.

Anyhow my happiness in small things like seeing a Robin so close that I could almost touch it yesterday. Walking with my boy to the pub for beautiful tapas for lunch. Wandering the village Market. Just being present and genuinely happy. Not settling for crap.

I’ve got a new book to start, thank you to my friend S who dropped it off. “The magic” Rhonda Byrne , I know I’m late to that party however the time is right to embrace the insight and positivity it holds inside. I know that my mindset is at a place of can do. I’ve got this, and you know what, at the moment I feel like the onwards and upwards I always held as my motto is almost in the past. I’m not saying it’s redundant, as there’s plenty of things still to grow with and excel at, but what I mean is that I’m at the pure unadulterated me, that’s content and feeling great and if I can keep this momentum going, well then I’ll run with it. ❤️

My friend from work sent this to me on Friday. It made my heart sing.

Part 52. Struggling

Struggles seem to be spoken about so much at the moment, struggles with paying bills, struggles with getting hold of fuel, struggles with wellbeing. It seems that many of us are struggling with things that we might not have struggled with previously. I’ve become much better at identifying struggles and trying to address them from a wellbeing perspective, I think?What i know though is my body takes more of a battering when things aren’t going to plan. Ive been really run down over the last week which i absolutely can only attribute to shitty few weeks catching up with me. This is my 4th bout of laryngitis since November this time nicely accompanied by a chest infection.

Work was an absolute cess pit, drama never seems to leave our school, sadly! It took its toll on most of us this last term and I ended up drinking much more than I would, in fact I don’t drink in week, and I maybe only have drink once at weekend. I spent the other week drinking weeknights then weekend. I knew it was a slippery slope and on top of that wasn’t eating so just ending up paralytic tbh. Now I don’t like a side of me that can dip into that stupor, it’s not me. I knocked that on the head in my early 20s after too many examples of making a tit of myself. I should have noticed myself that I was on a slippery slope but I guess I thought I knew better. I have decided I need to give the drink a bit of a breather and when I do go drinking, I need to give myself some rules like eating, and taking time with what I drink. I’m always good retrospectively but I need to notice the slippery slopes. So maybe not as good as recognising struggles as I thought?

I know that the drink was a crutch really and the good things like gym just didn’t cut the mustard. Viscous cycle though as then hacking up my lung has meant I couldn’t physically get to gym and do anything! My friend sent me a great meme

And whilst this is true, and funny I am really conscious that the alter ego appears. If I am in a good place then obviously drunk me is hilarious and honest. If I am wobbly then I am probably funny but with rage and a bit of mixed feelings underlying. I know this is probably the same for many of us, however I recognise that I don’t like the twat I become. There is too many times that I flash a tit and actually it probably makes loads of people massively uncomfortable. No idea even why I do that when I am so body critical. I guess I know the tits are good!😂

So why do we use our struggles and inner critic to appear from such silly struggles at times? I guess it comes from upbringing and coping mechanisms? My go to, back to my teenage years, was drink and then stupid decisions spurred on from that drunkenness…You’d think being 43 I’d have learnt! Hey ho!

I guess the reason I struggle is cos I care, I feel. I am bothered about what others think. I am an over-thinker. I do want the best for everyone. I don’t want to be in someones bad books. I don’t want people to dislike me – although I know and recognise you can’t get on with everyone! So the last month of things just going tits up, for saying things that I thought was right and trying to be a friend have got to me. This last week or two I have seriously sat and contemplated things…where do I go, where do I belong…The truth is you belong where you make yourself feel welcome. My home is a safe haven. It might not always be in this house though and there is so much potential for change in the next few years. I am gutted that I have let the overthinking brain get the better of me and make me worry about so much- particularly what is out of my control. I am gutted that I have lost what I thought was a good friend from doing what I though was the right thing and what she would have done for me [see previous blog]. I am gutted that work has been such a shitty place for us who work so hard to help so many.

So this week the struggles need to be turned around and used as fuel to motivate, get better, get less critical, to move on, to remember its always onwards and upwards!

Part 51. Moral compass

I speak to people in life about their moral compass. To me it is having life experience and insight, then making a decision as to what is right or wrong. Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when I have known what I am doing is probably on the wrong side of this, but knowing I reap what I sow.

I know I used to say things to my Mum to get a reaction and I am sure many a time someone pissed me off so I was feisty with my mouth. I still can retort to comments however I am so over bitching and cattiness. Last year I came across a conversation where I said it wasn’t fair to speak about someone behind their back and not give them opportunity to stand up for themselves, and that I would have been gutted if I had found out people were talking about me like that. We must all become a topic of conversation from time to time, sure I get it. I am aware that lots of people are dicks and do get spoken about. In my job we do moan, rant etc but I would hope this is from a place where it is justified rather than from just slagging someone off. I often used twitter as my ranting tool. I have learnt it isn’t always the right way but again generally my heart is in the right place.

Now when I reflect, I know that in my mid teens when life was crap at home my moral compass was a lot looser than it is now. I was craving something I didn’t have at home and I wanted life to be different. Even when I was being rebellious and pushing boundaries I would like to think that I was swayed in the right direction deep down. I knew what was right, wrong, and somewhere in the middle.

I know my Nanny noo was like this. She had life experience and good family values, she was my biggest support through my toughest times, she knew I was being a shit but she cast no judgement and was just there for me. Her dying when I was 19 was heartbreaking and I definitely lost my support. It took me years to work on things and get to a place of being the most genuine person I could be and whilst I know that life isn’t always perfect, I am the most genuinely content and at peace with myself than I have ever been.

This week though I have spent many hours in a pickle. Crying and going over things, silly things. Stupid choice of words, deciding to tell people things I thought they needed to know and then afterwards cursing that my place from the heart and thinking what I was doing was the right thing was taken in completely the opposite manner. In fact I wobbled with what was right thing to do. I confided in a couple of friends and they said what would you want to happen if the shoe was on the other foot and that is what I based my decision on. When I had some counselling last year I was asked what the right thing for me was, the principle is the same in everything. What is the right thing for me personally. To me it is how we should look at life. We live our lives, no one else does it for us.

So the dilemma is what do we do in life, do we do what is right for us or what we think is the right thing generally. What is the right way of doing things?

This week I made the decision that what I was doing was the right thing for me and telling someone something may have turned out not to be the best thing for them, but I had to do what I thought was right and proper. Unfortunately this has resulted in me questioning things a lot and again coming to a conclusion that there are sometimes situations where you will never get it right, say nothing and they find out this casts doubt about why or say something and ruin a friendship. So what is the right thing to do… My belief is that I did the right thing this week. I deal in facts. What then happens from there unfortunately is out of my control.

What I do know is that my tolerance for bullshit and being treated as I am, means that I am now making a decision to walk away from what I thought was a friendship…what swayed me was to find I have been blocked on almost all social media, so to me that decision has been made for me. What I have done is become reflective and realise that maybe it is best when it brings so much heartbreak. All I ever do is from a place that I think is the right one. So as ever #onwardsandupwards

Part 50. Stubborn, moi?

I had a date with someone this week. It’s taken ages for it to be arranged! Like a month plus. I messaged him earlier in the week and said I think you are too busy, I don’t think you are really that bothered about seeing me. He told me I was wrong on both counts. He picked me up and the usual stand offish defensive dater in me was probably immediately apparent. We had a chat about both of our approaches to dating and I told him I know that I am stubborn and my feelings are that someone who is really that bothered would make some effort and I got from his inconsistent messages that he was flaky and I was probably a long line of potentials dates. He asked me what I am gaining from being stubborn, I sat and thought about it for a few seconds and honestly I was stumped. I honestly don’t know what I get from being stubborn apart from getting a bit high and mighty about how I am treated when in reality I could be a lot less stubborn and evasive and maybe my personality would be apparent.

Maybe it isn’t actually stubbornness, maybe it is my desire to not have to delve, to search, to chase… maybe for once there needs to be no agenda. I really don’t ask for a lot, honesty yes, absolutely, and ability to fit me in! If you can’t be honest and haven’t got space for me then why say you have.

What I am finding as well at the moment is that it is just so hard to take myself an do something alone like I often have, and here I sit browsing endlessy for ideas, for holidays, trips as I want and need these things but I am know my anxiety at times puts paid to the ideas I have. This week I’ve had several alone days and I’ve actually felt really lonely at some points but I’ve cracked on and done some bits, got in garden, had a walk alone and I have had a word with myself and the anxiety subsides.

So maybe I’m actually not really stubborn? Maybe I’m just anxious, and fed up of dishonesty? Maybe all I want is what so many others have… So why does that seem so hard to find?

Part 49. Catharsis

I guess you could say that blogging is cathartic, it definitely has the ability to allow an offload and work through a process. I have always written things down as far back as I can remember. Notes of feelings, ways of communicating to parents, love letters, friend notes, diaries, thought books…I guess I never knew back then that it was therapy. It allowed me a way of getting things of my chest, off my shoulders, true words that were harder to say aloud than to be written down.

Dating and messaging people in that method is not cathartic, in fact I kind of feel it is a hinderance. It’s repetitive and time consuming and tends to lead to nothing. I’m a bit confused about head and heart and what I now want. I have searched, tried out dating, chatting and everything in-between and I put myself out there as I know it’s not going to come knocking if I don’t look or be available, but living here really does just seem to be a massive barrier (yes I know I’ve said this before). I can’t change that at present and even if I did relocate would it be any better? Probably not.

I really want to travel, have holidays and do things and a companion would be great but I am resolute that I may be better getting my arse in gear and just exploring. Hopefully restrictions easing mean things ease up and travel is simpler. I have no issue being alone, but the nature of the beast is that it’s still crap as a woman being alone with the crap you get off men. I am sure I can hold my own, but in unfamiliar territory, I am not so sure? Especially abroad. I have some dream of just hitting places and exploring but I’m feeling that maybe I got life arse about face and should have done that at 18. I was in such a rush to settle down/ settle? Life had been rocky and uncertain and I wanted stability. I suppose I got some level of that in a long term relationship.

Since 35 and marriage breakdown, and getting back out there I have seen and experienced lots, especially from dating. The lies and cheats amongst some great gigs, holidays and other events. Reconnected with my dads side of the family which has been so amazing. I didn’t realise just how much that all meant to me, on top of building some of the greatest friendships. It’s funny though as these are the relationships that you have to bob in and out of, and they are the ones that mean a lot, however it’s the consistency that I guess I crave, the familiarity, the knowing where I stand, not fitting in to a schedule of your friends and families already busy diaries. And this is why dating also becomes difficult as if you are like me you will have things book in to keep your days full where possible. And this is why it then becomes tricky to get a date and time that fits both parties. I had a date booked with a guy recently that we had in diary for weeks, we hadn’t seen each other since previous couple of dates for four weeks, he let me down and then expected I would accept his next available date, given I knew he’d be hanging, I declined. No one needs to be let down once and then potentially let down again or given a shitty hangover date.

So today I guess I feel hormonal and potentially do need that cathartic cry, but I don’t know what I want to cry over. I know I am not a shitty person deep down, but the experiences of home life and dating just make me wonder if I am destined to be in a place of aloneness with the catching up with family and friends in the mix?

Guess I need to start booking some new trips, days out and holidays….this explore and potential to meet new people ain’t going to happen on its own. So recommendations of where to hit first? Still loads of the UK I’d love to see, and that feels doable alone, nor sure about further afield, hints and tips anyone?