When Harry met Meghan…and single women in their 30s rejoiced.

Love. Was there ever anything more serious and important and world defining? Perhaps, if we’re being literal…but why bother with all that? Some people say that news of a royal engagement isn’t really news, but, as a single person in my 30s, I beg to differ.

For a 20- or 30-something single person, probably for a single person of any age, it feels like THE IMMENSE, WORLD-DEFINING SUBJECT. For single people getting on a bit (anyone from 25 to 45 might relate. 45 plus and I’m guessing you’ve come to terms with a life on the shelf – sos if that’s not the case) there’s immense pressure to find the one to spend your life with, the one to have a family with, the one to make your mother and all the other ‘well-meaning’ idiots that constantly offer smug relationship advice like there’s nothing else in the world to talk about (there is, see above) SHUT THE F*** OFF. I truly  believe that single people are less interested in finding someone than they are with just having a conversation about something else.

Then comes the hard part: how to meet your match. It’s really a seemingly constant cycle of choosing the best of the current tinder selection, picking one (or more, if you’re full of energy) to tentatively get to know, finding their flaws, debating whether or not you can live with said flaws, and rejecting them (or being rejected). Then you begin the cycle again.

Some highly organised and energetic single people manage to date a few at a time, presumably to speed up the process of finding ‘the one’, or maybe because they get a perverse thrill from rejecting (or being rejected). I have given this a go a few times. And while I’ve always managed to keep multiple conversations going, never facing the embarrassment of texting the wrong one, I don’t really have the multi-tasking skills to keep it  up. So kudos to those of you who do!

Some people branch out beyond the dick-pics and topless ‘men who workout’ of Tinder and add their profile to one of those paid dating site thingys. I want to make it very clear that these are no longer the reserve of the very desperate. I’m not saying I use them myself, I’m just saying I want to make it clear.

Often you’ll be dating a while before you discover your potential life-partners alcoholism/ erectile dysfunction/ anti-depressant habit/ compulsive lying/ mother issues/ commitment phobia/ controlling tendencies/ opioid addiction (delete as appropriate). Then you have to weigh up whether one or more of these…let’s call them ‘drawbacks’ is enough of a reason to re-enter the world of UNSOLICITED RELATIONSHIP ADVICE.

Unsurprisingly, slightly older single people sometimes feel (and I know this is a generalisation) a little…despondent. Maybe even a little pessimistic about their chances of finding ‘the one’…or at least the one to keep your mother from banging on about grandchildren! So when my 33 (not 34 yet)-year-old self heard that Prince Harry, yes actual Prince Harry, had asked a 36-year-old divorcee to marry him.  I was able to brush over how absolutely gorgeous she is and look brightly at the Match.com word once again.

Autumnal Saturday thoughts

For me, Autumn is all about winding down and seasonal activities, cooking, nourishing and enjoying being outside.

I love the season of long walks crunching leaves, pumpkin pie and Trick or Treating, lighting fires and cosying up, changing light and chilly mornings, pork crackling with swede and carrot mash, wrapping up with wellies and scarfs.

We’ve enjoyed the odd seasonal craft, despite my four year old’s ‘feedback’ about my pumpkin face (who knew a missing nose could cause such drama), and whiled away an afternoon leaf collecting, arranging and gluing (who knew it could be so much fun). And, yes, the feeling of being a virtuous mother deserves a little blog brag.

Seasonal cooking might be another marker of early middle-age, but my attempts have been stewing along nicely (ha!). The quest for the perfect pork crackling is looking like a bit of a journey, but consider fish pie, pumpkin pie and swede and carrot mash nailed!

I’ve strewn my home with leafs and conkers, bought countless candles and put cushions and blankets in every nook in an effort to achieve some sort of seasonal decorating cachet. My home looks like a cross between a woodman’s cottage and the John Lewis haberdashery department. Hygge here I come.

The slide into winter may be quick and unforgiving (minus 2 tomorrow evening I’m reliably informed by my mum), so I’m enjoying autumn while it lasts.

Becoming a mother and…

Carving out a space in my life that’s mine, where I’m more than an extension of my  favourite person on the planet. That’s been my project of the last six months, the half a year since my son turned four.

Why didn’t I do this before, I hear you ask? Not all of us are JK f-ing Rowling. Not that I have anything against her. I’m well impressed that she managed to write Harry Potter while single-parenting a pre-verbal ‘bundle of joy’. But it’s actually pretty hard to divide your attention when you’re frequently, without warning, being called upon to play with, clean, comfort and feed a small one. Now that  O can dress and entertain himself, I’m a little freer. Plus, now he’s at school, I have SIX CHILD-FREE DAYTIME HOURS A WEEK!

So what have I done with this new found space? I’ve taken up running! Yes that’s right, twice a week I now engage in that classic marker of early middle-age. I realised I’d finally (and I do mean finally) become ‘that person’ while actually enjoying a hungover run in drizzle (yes, drizzle). Shiiiiiit.

As if that’s not depressing enough, I’ve discovered that I now opt to use the couple of hours O will amuse himself on a Sunday afternoon teaching myself to cook!!! I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t just phoned a Swiss clinic and cut out the inevitable.

Promise that I will talk about both these past times, and the joy of time to myself, in future posts. It’s just that I’m 34 in 44 days and I’m kind of bricking it.