Can seperated families really be friends

When I split with George two and a half years ago all I wanted was to get away but through his sheer determination for the kids to be as little disrupted as possible, we made it work, we had the ‘weirdest’ break up that anyone probably had ever seen but I wouldn’t change it for the world, of course I would have loved my family to stay together but when two people just aren’t in love anymore, why be miserable and unhappy when you can have what we have now?.

It hasn’t been easy I can tell you getting to this point… see photo of ex husband and future husband…

I won’t lie, it’s been hard going but this weekend it was proof that a family that was once whole, can function divided yet together at the same time, only last Friday when George, Jim and I were hanging out waiting for the boys to get of their bus, a old work friend came along and couldn’t hide her bemusement that both my ex and my future were sitting on a bench, chatting away like old mates while I was sat in the middle of them, she said as long as we were happy that’s the main thing and yes we are, you see I may have fallen out of love with George and I may not see him like I used to (ok I’ll put it blunt…I don’t fancy him anymore) we don’t remain friends just for the boys, we remain friends because that’s what we were before, friends, this year I will have known him 27 years, you can’t throw that longer friendship away just because you don’t love each other anymore.

We were due down to Kent last weekend but after what happened to our beautiful friend, we came down early, Jim and I met George at the pub Thursday and played rock and roll bingo, we hung out most of Friday because we were sorting Becky’s book out etc and Friday evening we were all together for Becky’s minstrel send off (which was a drunken mess but she would have loved it) and Sunday we all got together for little Jims birthday with George’s lovely girlfriend, at no stage did or feel weird or it shouldn’t be like it, it felt normal (although there was odd glances by my ex mother in law at how friendly Jim and George were).

As a result the children are happy, they have their parents back and not arguing, we may have new partners and I may live miles away but they have two parents that aren’t at war anymore, they have two parents that are friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

V x


A beautiful light has gone out

My friend becky, my beautiful, funny, weird friend becky has passed away and how my heart hurts.

She used to read this blog with our friend Emma in the cafe we used to work in together and she used to laugh about the things I would write, I never once thought I’d have to or want to write a blog about my friend, my friend who I only worked with for 6 weeks and knew less than a year but in that time, it felt like we had been friends forever.

When I first met becky she popped into the cafe because she was coming back to work after taking a 6 month break, trying her hand at something new but her heart was back at the cafe, she seemed nice enough but the day she came back to work, it was a Tuesday I fucking hated her, within an hour she had pulled everything apart, made me feel like I didn’t know anything and I spent the evening in tears but somehow becky had this amazing knack of just loving everybody and by the Friday, it could even have been the Thursday, we were in the pub, getting smashed and me in awe of her, knowing everyone and everyone loving her, even with her messy hair (and for the record I stuck firm on her touching my saucers!).

Becky was gorgeous, funny, very bright and had this really posh accent that at times shocked me when the world ‘fuck’ came out of it, which was rare but it happened, she had the most amazingly messy hair, she had the worst dress sense I have ever witnessed, if I had dared dress in a sack for work I would have looked like a right knob but not her, she strolls into work hair like she had been dragged through a bush and this thing on that looked like it should have had potatoes in but she pulled it off, I ripped it out of her all day but becky just gave it back, the ripped jeans she wore once was another cracker they had such big holes in them she might as well took them off and walked around naked from the waist down but that was her, you never knew what wonders she would find in a charity shop or would dare to wear but she pulled them all off.

When we went out drinking, she wasn’t a smoker but would always have a couple when the drinks were flowing and she had this most odd way of smoking, she would smoke out the side of her mouth looking like Dot Cotton and it was amusing for us all, everytime!! She was oblivious to it and I’m sure she done it even more to make us laugh.

When it time for me to leave the cafe I had decided I didn’t want any fuss but no, becky had other ideas and in came the fancy dress ideas and I had the best night of my entire life thanks to her, without her encouraging me I wouldn’t have known how loved I was (or another way to look at it, how much people wanted to see the back of me and was making sure it was happening!), we said we would wear 50’s clothes but her dress was a little more mini mouse but by the time we were in the pub she had drew a moustache on her face and we partied the night away and getting up on stage at the end of the night to sing my way, she was there, along with everyone else and I always have that very special memory.

Even though I didn’t live there anymore, I always made a beeline for the cafe, always ready for a becky hug and to hear about her crap crush and we would normally head over the road for a drink, she used to plead with me to try and stay but I couldn’t I had to get back with the boys, which makes tomorrow so heartbreaking as I had plans to do just that, stay and we were meant to be going to the pub, all those times she asked me to stay and I couldn’t but I arranged it so we could (it did also tie in with my sons prom so it worked out well) and now instead of laughing with her, now we are all meeting to give her a minstrel goodbye and I am heartbroken.

I feel bad to feel like this, others knew her for way longer and I can only imagine how they feel, I can’t imagine what her family are going through but if they are anything like becky, there will be plenty of hugs and words of wisdom.

Fly high my friend, my best friend, my heart will never be the same again.

V x


Not to hard to say thank you?

Ever since I met my step kids one thing that has grated me no end is the way they don’t say please or thank you, my kids might have mood swings and god knows what but they are always polite and thankful.

If ever they ask for anything from a drink to their tablets it’s just ‘can I ‘ave’ (they come from Essex so this is acceptable!), their dad has tried to install polite behaviour but only having them twice a month it all goes out the window (see my shoelaces blog for that saga).

Every time they come down (Florence isn’t as bad) I always swear that I will not treat them but I did the same today, cinema tickets for tomorrow, clothes and a drink, neither said thank you for any of it, I don’t expect them to get on their knees and flag me down saying ‘thank you Vera’ but a simple nod to just acknowledge I’ve done something would be nice.

Upshot is, after her dad telling her too, Florence said thank you but Gerald after throwing a tantrum because I wouldn’t give into him for his demands of a drink that he wanted just because his sister had that one bit was quite happy with the choice beforehand and then him sulking so bad she swapped with him and I swapped it back (poor girl always gets the short end of the deal but I wasn’t having any of the Gerald show today), didn’t say thank you for any of it, so now I’ve put the tickets for sale and he is going to learn a massive lesson that behaving the way he did today doesn’t bring him treats (to be honest Florence wasn’t bothered about going), some could call it harsh but until he learns to be grateful the little sod can wait for things.

We took him to Southend a few months back and it seems the more you give him the worst his behaviour is, but he can throw all the Gerald’s he wants to, this step mama is not treating him until he learns a little bit of respect and gratitude and realises we work hard, this month has been the first month that we had a good income as I am working and we can afford to not worry as much, which has been nice but I refuse to go and buy him an ice cream from mcdonalds anymore, while he just sits there and thinks everything comes for free.

I asked him if he ever says thank you to his mum and he said no, that’s up to her if she doesn’t enforce it but while he is with me and his dad you will be grateful for all the little extras that we do for him, after all it could go back to how it was, him walking EVERYWHERE, only eating the same food every time they came (he would like that though) and not getting things like ice cream etc.

He is a lovely kid, very loving and when he wants to he is happy to help, he just always lets himself down with his gratitude, even round his grandparents house he just asks for this and that, never a please, it’s just manners!

V x



On Monday night my world was shocked to the core, like millions of others, billions maybe, the day no concert or public event would ever be the same for anyone.

22 years ago this year I attended my first concert, take that in Hammersmith, I was only 13 years of age, I travelled with my friend and her parents and we went off, screamed our little heads off and at the end her parents were there to greet us (at least I think it was hers, it could have been mine) and take us home, this continued up until my late teens and then with family life I stopped going apart from the odd westlife concert, I say odd me and my sister went all over the uk one year to see them, the year they split and one of those venues was Manchester arena.

I cannot for the life of me recall what it looks like or how it was laid out, I can remember Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, London, Newcastle (I went to see one direction almost two years ago with her), I can’t place anything at all, maybe I’ve blocked it out because of everything but what scares me the most is never in a million years did I ever think I’d go into an arena and never come out alive again but what scares me more than that is this, myself and my sister in our later concert going days we would never sit together (just Birmingham when we were front row and new kids on the block), all those concerts we attended and now thinking back of if it had of happened one of those nights my sister would have been all alone, scared and not knowing what to do. 

With every act of terroism I watch the news and of course I worry but this has left me shocked, it’s left me scared and it’s left me with these thoughts: because of what ‘they did’ no concert will ever be the same, no act playing will ever be the same, no member of staff will ever be the same and no person ever going to a concert will ever be quite the same. Over time, we shall forget what happened, pushed back to the back of our minds but for those 20000 odd people, their lives have been turned upside down, it’s not just the people that watched the show, it’s the staff, the medical teams, the police, the public, the arena staff, all those people that probably run well into 30000 maybe more, those little girls (and boys) who probably waited months, maybe years to attend their first concert will probably never want to go to another concert, maybe not for a very long time, maybe never, those people that work their may never want to work there again, those parents who waited outside for their kids to come out will never want to buy another concert ticket again and while maybe I shouldn’t focus on that, it’s not the main issue here, the loss of life and the injured are more important but I’m thinking long term and how it will shape our future, Westminster bridge for example, commuters will use that bridge as it might be their only way into work. Tourist will still come, the same as New York (to name a couple of these terrible events) but this is quite different, it’s not out in the open where running is an option, it’s in an enclosed space, you have to think about buying that ticket, walking over the bridge to get to work is different in a way, you have options on how to get there but this is a choice, this is something that we can either stick two fingers up to and say we will carry on or we can stop, even for a while to collect our thoughts, our prayers and our breath.

Take care v x


Feel like the worst step mum ever

I don’t know if I have spoken about my stepsons eating habits or not but basically he won’t eat anything with flavour, won’t take a chance on something new (well he didn’t until recently) and won’t even go near sauces, this isn’t because he has anything wrong with him other than his mum letting him get away with having pretty much a beige diet and his mom hates pretty much anything that involves a nicely cooked vegetable that isn’t cooked to an inch of its life, so the poor boy hasn’t stood a chance up until now and now I’ve come along it’s all changed dinnerwise when he comes here, I’m not a pander type person, of course I don’t give gravy to my youngest or toad in the hole (he will eat sausage and Yorkshire just not when it’s made together, I get that he has autism and it’s a ‘thing’ for him but my eldest who is also autistic hates onion and mushroom yet we still make food with these ingredients, if cut very small he won’t even notice, I’m not a ‘two dinners’ mum, you either eat what is in front of you or go with out basically and my children have never starved with this method, anything they don’t like they just pick it out).

So anyway my step son, Gerald. He is a lovely dear little boy and a year ago their is no way he would eat a chicken korma or anything like this but this past year he has tried that and more, even asking for it the next time he stays, I’m so proud of him but Tuesday I let myself down big time, they came for dinner after school and instead of them having what we were having (pie and chips) and as it was a special day (there mum was at their great nana funeral) I decided to break my ‘two dinner’ rule and make pasta instead, but I didn’t have any pasta sauce so I used tomato ketchup and mixed a few things in it, like some garlic (which he loves) mixed herbs, four chilli (tiny) flakes and some diced up broccoli, I tried it and it tasted amazing. They get their dinner first and start and my stepdaughter Florence mentioned it was spicy but not blow your head off spicy, we tried it and it was again fine, remember this is Gerald’s favourite meal and I gave him a bigger bowl as he loves it, an hour later he is still sat there, complaining it was too spicy (he had an actual slice of garlic bread I made with real garlic and had chunks on top which in my opinion more blow your head off then the pasta yet he ate it), he still wasn’t half way through and we had to get them home as it was nearly seven (in an ideal world their go home for baths etc but that’s just a made up thing in their house) and after he criticised the broccoli (his sister said it was too hard ‘I agree Florence’ he said) I got up and removed his bowl and informed him that it was made entirely out of ketchup we asked if it sauce was that bad and he said ‘no, it was just too spicy’ (think of a really whiney voice and then triple it) again we tried it and it was the mildest thing ever, I wouldn’t mind but he tried korma, he had a very small piece of grilled pepper with cheese recently!

Thing is I got very offended, I honestly thought I’d make them a nice meal and all it got was criticised the whole time and if it was my children they would have been really thankful I made them their favourite, I went downstairs and waited for to take them home, Gerald came to say sorry but he has said sorry before over food and I know in two weeks when they come again it will be a battle (I’ve told Jim he can cook for them now, Florence will eat pretty much anything, well actually no, she asks for these things and doesn’t finish them, I’ve noticed it’s a habit lately it’s like she wants more than Gerald, she also does this thing when she doesn’t want to eat ‘can I go an make some room’ she goes off and comes back and rarely eats anything after, Gerald tried this will me a few times but I said ‘Gerald I have 16 years experience at all the tricks, you go before dinner or after, not during’. When they got to where they live Jim gave me a kiss and Gerald tried too but I said I didn’t want one and I saw the look on his face and I can’t get it out of my head he went indoors and burst into tears apparently and it’s all my fault, if I hadn’t of stick those four tiny flakes in he probably would have ate it, I didn’t need to tell him how the sauce was made and I didn’t need to treat him the way I did and I really wish I could give him a cuddle and know he is ok because it’s killing me thinking he might hate me now.

I know I should be more chilled out but when you go round someone’s house for dinner and he is all ‘I don’t likkkke ittttt’ really is irritating, he doesn’t see the bigger picture that someone has cooked for him and it’s hardly a gourmet meal, he doesn’t see that when they come round we want variety and he should have variety in his life, god knows what he will do when he has a hangover he doesn’t eat eggs and isn’t fond of bacon! 

I feel like we came so far and in that one split second of a stupid thought on my part that’s trust I built up with him and food will have gone. He tried korma and loved it, he’s tried Chinese and liked it, damn we even got him eating BBQ flavoured things the other day!! 

I hope he is ok and I haven’t turned into an evil step mum in his eyes, I only want him to enjoy meal times, enjoy the tastes, the smells and eat a little more healthy.

Until next time V x


Having a purpose 

For the past four weeks I have been happy, I have felt needed but most of all I feel like I have a purpose in life once more.

Gone are the days I lay in bed, day after day, wishing for the day to be over and now on its place I have a sense of hope and self worth, I have a job.

I have a wonderful ‘little’ job, I have a job that isn’t like working at all and each day I wake up in this ‘new town’ making a life for MY self and making MY mark here, not just Jim’s other half but me, Vera making other people’s lives happier as well as my own.

I have a job as an activities coordinator in a care home and I have had lots of jobs over the years but never one so quite rewarding as this one, I’ve done care work before and I always felt settled in that role (for various reason I can’t do it now, it’s too emotional for me) but this job, I get to ‘play’ most of the day and I love it, I get to organise too which is something I relish in. I work along side another lady and between us we are a bit scatty but together we work well!!

I love seeing the elderly peoples faces when a singer comes in and sings just to them, I love being able to just sit and talk about the old days but you know what I love the most? Seeing someone in the supermarket that I know that Jim doesn’t! It’s a weird feeling!

I get to talk to grown ups every day, people that don’t know me and my messed up life before moving here and it’s nice to be just Vera, just me with nothing attached apart from a clean slate.

Finally for the first time in over two years I feel like I’m needed again, I don’t mind having to stay on for an hour extra or having to work my day off, I don’t mind doing any of those things because I finally have a smile on my face, one I achieved all of my own.

I come home each day, Normally via the supermarket and get myself a pastry, put the kettle on and put my key in the door to our room, it’s just a room but it’s my home, our home and it feels great to finally feel like somewhere is properly home and that for the first time in I don’t know when I can help towards bills and food.

It’s an amazing feeling.

Much love V x


Despair and love

Autism, its autism awareness month still and yes, I am an autism mummy, I’ve been one for years but this weekend it’s been an absolute fucking nightmare living with an autistic child and this will probably be totally the wrong post considering my last one was embracing my autistic children (I have two) I must share with you the real truth about living with a child On the spectrum, try as I might to remember the ‘welcome to holland’ poem, the sheer reality is this: holland is a living nightmare sometimes and when I’ve had a weekend like this, I really wish just for a small nano second that the plane didn’t got to holland but my chosen destination of Italy.

You see mini Jim stayed with us for a week and it was relatively ok, well actually it wasn’t, it was a tiny bit horrible, watching what we wanted on tv was a no no, big Jim and I wasn’t allowed to be alone for longer than two seconds and I really wish I could change what we were having for dinner at the last moment without world war three almost erupting.

Of course I wouldn’t change my little boy I really wouldn’t but it’s times like this when I am stood in a car park in streams of tears and despair that I think ‘thank fuck I don’t deal with this everyday’, which of course sounds very selfish of me but his father has always been much better at dealing with him than me (I have mentioned I don’t have that ‘mummy gene’) he also has the freedom to send him to another room when he gets to much, we don’t have that luxury unfortunately and it’s became clear that we need to move faster on the moving front if mini Jim is going to carry on the way he did this weekend.

For the best part of two years he has calmed down and considering when he was in his last year of primary his whole world collapsed when mine collapsed too, he coped remarkably well, he had a few moments that he reverted back to old Jim (like the day I moved out and I prepared the teachers for that day but did any of them speak to each other..like fuck they did so when I went to pick him up from school we got called over to say he had really misbehaved..no shit Sherlock!!!) but on the whole he improved at school both with his learning socially and emotionally too. Then last year I moved away with in two weeks a new lady moved into their family home and a few short weeks later he went to big school and since then his behaviour had been slowly declining again, all the coping skills he learnt seemed to vanish over night, his step mum has found it hard with his behaviour but his dad handles it well, I on the other hand feel like I am stuck in holland with no fucking clue what to do, every tactic I learnt over the years and nothing seems to work and it doesn’t help that he is older now and follows what and how his older brothers act.

Everything is ‘his way or no way’ from where we go to how long we stay, he had always been the same but I guess when he behaved like this before it was me and my ex husband and we would bounce off each other in terms of one is getting upset the other will take over and as much as I love big Jim we haven’t got that dynamic and I always have it in the back of my mind, little Jim and his problems are for me to sort out and Big Jim didn’t sign up for an exhausting weekend of not being to do as he pleases or if he does the end result is a major meltdown, so I always have that in my head and although Big Jim wants to help I won’t let him because he fell in love with me and then my kids but he didn’t fall in love with the crazy person that erupts every five minutes because we’ve changed our minds, we can’t do something or simply because we don’t have a plan in the first place.

I love those parents that can cope, that can deal with having to live their life by a plan and times but I can’t live like that and I absolutely hate that term ‘they have to learn’ but in some respects they do have to try and cope with the unexpected, especially now my kids are older, when they are younger you can live your life to a certain degree of planning and rountine but as they get older they have to start adapting (my children only have mild autism by the way, when I say this stuff I am not aiming it as children or adults with ASD that simply can’t function without help etc) to life, because sooner or later exams are going to happen, work is going to happen so to some degree they do have to start ‘learning’ but by that I mean us setting them up and trying to teach them skills to cope with living in the big wide world, skills that I obviously don’t have.

Take this weekend for instance, come Saturday it was the longest I had actually spent 24/7 with my son for months, actually thinking about it, last summer, he came to stay when we were in the house but this was together ALL the time, well it wasn’t all the time, I had to go to work for a few hours each day but when I got home it was relentless, on our own we would settle down to watch mike and molly when I got in and we would wait for Big Jim to get home and that’s when it would all change, I guess because I was happy to do what he wanted and have been used to just doing what he wanted but put someone else in the frame and it all changes. Saturday was particularly bad though. We did an event for charity and he was ok-ish there, apart from wanting to know when we were leaving and could he eat his way through the pile of sandwiches that was ok but on the way home it was bad, I had to stop because I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I couldn’t cope and just started crying, usually at this point George would take over and things would be fine but Big Jim doesn’t really know how to handle a child like this as has never had dealings with anyone on the spectrum, he tried to calm things down but nothing we did worked. And the laughing at us just made it a hundred times worse.

Yesterday he wasn’t so bad but after that long I was thankfully I could hand him back to his dad, we had cuddles when I left and I know he is looking forward to next time he comes and we have baby daddy to watch (that’s his unhealthy obsession!) and I am looking forward cuddles with my baby but for now I am enjoying the peace and quiet!
Much love V x