The bad & the ugly.

A bit of an impromptu post but I promised to keep you all updated and I also promised that I’d be honest about my journey, the good, the bad & the ugly. Tonight was somewhere between the middle and the latter.

Let me start with last night, Little Man came home from nursery, exhausted and some of the worst nappy rash we’ve had to deal with. Unsurprisingly he was in a sorry state. He’s not the snuggliest of little boys but last night when I asked him if he wanted a bath, his response was “No Mummy, snuggle!”.

It didn’t then come as a surprise to me, that last night wasn’t a great night’s sleep for either of us.

So it’ll be no surprise to you, reader, that I wasn’t in the greatest mood starting the day. Add to my bad mood, a tired whingey toddler and the fact that I managed to burn my toast and set off the fire alarm all before 8am and you’ll understand why the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a lecture theatre all day.

But I did, I went, I learnt and I conquered…I conquered my caffeine intake, but I conquered none the less. In fact, I’m being a bit harsh on myself, I did actually go and do a bit of work on my lunch break which is handy because I may have replaced my hour of work tonight, with wine. Don’t judge.

Little Man’s nappy rash hasn’t improved, bathtime/bedtime was once again, a battle. And when I sat and read him his pre-bed story, I actually sat and cried. I’m so tired. My head is mush. And I keep thinking, what if I have another night like last night? How awful am I going to feel? And can I really do this, for 3.whole.years?!

I know that next week this will (hopefully) be a distant memory and I also know this won’t be the last time I feel like this but I hope that I can keep the fire in my belly for this course and this career, alive even when things get tough.

Week 2.

Well folks, that’s 2 weeks of University already DONE! Only another 157 to go…give or take! And I’d say, mostly it’s been great!

I had my first two days of proper lectures at the beginning of the week, one of which was just with the other 32 Mental Health nursing students. It’s nice to be part of a wider ‘Nursing Family’ but getting to know 32 people is a lot less daunting than 160! We did the traditional getting to know you session which was a real eye opener, so many people of different ages, backgrounds etc. who have all taken various different paths to reach the same starting point as me. We were also set our first assignment in that class, already, can you believe it?! It looks like it’ll be an interesting one and I have begun reading around the topic already, as our lecturer very cleverly pointed out, we are ‘reading for a degree’ after all!


In case you can’t tell, this is Jon Snow. Well his digestive system anyways!

On Tuesday we were back with the rest of the Nursing cohorts and you’ll be pleased to know, this time I did not overheat. Winner! Anyone who follows me on my Instagram will have seen the fun I had doing some craft in our first Anatomy & Physiology lecture (I have included the result above!). In our groups we had to then present our body systems and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t manage to get over my fear of speaking in front of a large group and very much hid at the back. This is one area of myself that I really want to work on. When I studied the first time around I hated public speaking SO much that I managed to convince one of my lecturers that I had already done my presentation in the class the previous week and that she just hadn’t written a tick next to my name…yes people, I lied. Definitely not one of my prouder moments! I have been trying a lot harder to put my hand up when questions are asked in class so I’m almost there, maybe by Christmas I’ll have gotten over this irrational fear!

One slightly unfortunate/amusing thing that did happen this week was that I got caught in the rain. Without an umbrella. When I say rain, I don’t just mean a small shower, I’m talking someone standing on a ladder pouring bucket loads onto my head. As you’ll see from the below photo, I did end up finding this amusing, kind of. I was halfway between Uni and home when it really chucked it down and in the middle of a racecourse, there isn’t a lot of shelter let me tell you! I decided that I wasn’t going to get any drier so I just turned up the radio in my ears (Desert Island Discs in case you were wondering) and squelched my way home. And I promise I didn’t get freaked out by the thunder and lightning, honest!


When you live in England, always have an umbrella on you!!

Little Man has had another great week at nursery and we’ve even managed to come home in our own clothes twice this week, quite an achievement! There was a small incident involving another child and a spade on Thursday, but we won’t dwell on that. I was walking around feeling pretty smug on Wednesday as I’d completed my final 2 nights as a Single Parent and even ended up enjoying it if I’m honest. I have gone from having one on one time with Little Man all day every day to just the evenings and although I do miss him during the day, it really has turned the bed/bath time routine from just a routine to a chance to hang out. And I know I’m biased but he’s a pretty cool little chap to hang out with, especially when he’s not overtired and doing that thing that toddlers do where they make elongated, whingey noises and it gets RIGHT.UNDER.YOUR.SKIN!

So yes, my parents are finally home! Hurrah! As lovely as it was having a big double bed all to myself and being able to watch whatever Australian soaps I liked in the evenings, (yes I like Neighbours and Home and Away, I never claimed to be cool on this blog), it has been SO good to have them home. And it has nothing to do with the fact that my Mum provided a supply of cake for when I was studying on Thursday! They are so supportive of this adventure and when it has looked like it wouldn’t be possible, they have done all they could to make sure that it can be. Thanks parents! It will be interesting to see how next week plays out with everyone working/studying/nursery-ing. I’ve already roped my Dad into cooking dinner one night, beans on toast totally counts, so I’m marking that up as a win.

The Weekly Planner I created has been a success this week, I have done at least an hour a night of studying when Little Man has gone to bed, utilised my ‘Study Day’ on Thursday when Dylan was at nursery and I didn’t have any lectures and because of that I enjoyed a delicious coffee and macaroon with one of my best friends and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. If anyone who is reading this is about to embark on their studies or even if you’re part way through, if you haven’t made a planner then I can thoroughly recommend you do. It has allowed me to balance the things I really want to do, like watching GBBO or reading stories with Little Man and still get a steady amount of work done too. I am not sure how easy it’ll be to stick to when I have deadlines looming etc. but I am hoping if I put the work in now, it won’t be a mad rush at the end!

So the only thing I will have a grumble about is the sleeping situation. Sharing a room with a toddler is going to take some adjustment! I’m very lucky that the Husband is not a snorer, in fact, he makes scarily little noise when he sleeps so going from that to sharing with the Little Man has not been easy. It doesn’t help that he has a cold so his snoring is almost deafening at the moment but even aside from that, I have never known such a wriggly sleeper! At least once a night I am woken by a THUD and then a sleepy whine where he’s wriggled to the top of the cot and banged his head. Silly Little Man! I have attempted ear plugs but so far failed, I put them in before I go to sleep and wake up with them stuck to the side of my face. So any tips would be gratefully received!

I hope everyone else has had a good, productive week and hopefully it included more sleep than I managed at the latter end of it! Ooh and whilst I have your attention, if anyone has any good baked snack recipes they fancy sharing with me, please ping them over here. I have almost finished my Nigella Breakfast Bars and would love to try something new! Thanks in advance.

The Uni Mummy, over&out!

10 Lessons.

Well that’s my first week over with…first week as an official Mature Student is DONE! To say I am tired would be an understatement, although I haven’t had any “lectures” per say, I have had to use my brain a little bit and now it hurts a little bit too!

So what have I learnt so far?!

1. Lecture Theatres are HOT!

160+ students are capable of turning your average lecture theatre into the hottest place on earth!! By my 3rd day in Uni I was dressed as if I was going to the beach just to ensure I didn’t melt/pass out. Air-con anyone?!

2. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Okay, I didn’t invent this phrase but I think it’s going to be my mantra over the next 3 years. Time is so valuable when you’re trying to juggle so much and the only way that I’m going to be able to get study, write assignments, see our friends and spend some time with my boys is by being organised. One of the ladies I’ve met this week who also has children says she uses a weekly planner to make sure nothing is neglected. So I have pinched her idea, thanks Midge. I hope that by plotting out hours throughout the week to do Uni work, I can relax with my family on the weekends without feelings of guilt ruining it for me! And on the subject of organising…

3. Sometimes you’ve got to go old school!

I thought I’d be really 21st Century and put all of my classes/deadlines etc. into my phone calendar so I could be super organised, but guess what? It takes AGES!! Seriously, I thought technology was supposed to save time but by Thursday I’d had enough, I stomped to a stationers and bought myself a very smart PAPER diary. Now I just need to make sure I don’t lose it!

4. I’m better at this parenting malarkey than I’ve ever given myself credit for.

One thing that I was really worried about for the first week of Uni was having to take care of the Little Man on my own in the evenings/first thing in the morning but you know what? I can do it. I still have huge admiration to any single parents who do it day in, day out BUT my major parenting lesson has been, if I stay calm, the Little Man stays calm too. That said…

5. Being ‘Hangry’ is real!

I didn’t do too badly feeding the Little Man and doing the bedtime routine on my own. However, I did struggle when it was 6:30pm, Bathtime, I hadn’t eaten since lunch and the Little Man was doing that amazing thing that toddlers do where they stretch out so you can’t pick them up (seriously, where do they learn that?!) In future, I shall be joining him in his pre-bath snack to avoid future attacks of Hanger!


My rather lovely commute!

6. Commuting can be pleasant.

I have only ever driven/been driven to work before so having the chance to walk to Uni has been amazing! It’s so nice to have half an hour to myself, I don’t have to think if I don’t want to and better than that, I’m actually exercising!! If anyone had seen me on my commute this week, you’d be justified in thinking that I had lost the plot as I have been walking along and chuckling to myself. But it is in fact due to the power of Spotify and more specifically the genius that is Rhod Gilbert! Seriously, that man is brilliant. I’m not sure my opinion of commuting will remain so positive when the weather is rubbish but I am determined that I am not going to use my car!

7. I am a completely different student this time round.

I have already mentioned my emphasis on socialising (yes, I mean drinking) when I first attended Uni and I knew that this time it was all about the course but this week has shown me HOW much I want this. Having attended our induction lectures this week I have realised just how much mental and organisational preparation I have put in, so even when we’ve had it hammered home just how much we’ve signed up for by undertaking this degree, it hasn’t surprised or scared me. I have also realised that I have a very low tolerance of people who talk in lectures. And yes, last time round, I was sometimes one of them, but this time is different. I haven’t put my whole life on hold for the next 3 years just to listen to other people gossiping behind me, Grrr! Hands up if you’re now a geek…

8. Coffee is still going to feature heavily in my life.

Anyone with a child will know the importance of (sometimes hot) caffeinated drinks throughout the day, often just to be able to function at a semi-normal level…well it’ll be no surprise that this week, even being away from the Little Man, I have been knocking them back like a trooper! My new Uni has a big push on every other drink being water and I’m totally for that, but seriously, coffee, that’s what you need. Plus, coffee shops on campus are really reasonably priced AND you get a discount if you bring your own cup…a win win for me and the environment!

9. Moving back to your hometown for Uni is awesome!

I doubt I’m the only one who couldn’t WAIT to get out of their hometown as a teenager, there was nothing to do and I was SO bored of it. But coming back here for Uni has been brilliant, I’m seeing the whole city through fresh eyes but at the same time, taking comfort in knowing I won’t ever get lost or spend weeks trying to discover the best places to relax. And even better than that, this week I bumped into the mother of the twins I used to take care of every week when I was a teenager. Being told they will soon turn 15 made me nearly keel over, but it was so great to hear how well the whole family are doing.

10. I am definitely not alone in this.

I know I keep going on about how much support I’m surrounded by (sorry, not sorry) but this week has only proven that to me even more. The number of messages/cards of good luck I have received from you all has been amazing and I’ll admit, made me a bit emotional. Not only this, but I also met my fellow students this week and they are lovely! Not only have they been really friendly and welcoming but some of them have children too. Knowing that there are other people on the course who will understand what I’m going through, when the Little Man insists on waking up early or when I come in singing Postman Pat first thing in the morning, is really comforting!

So that’s that, Week 1 done…next week is when the real hard work begins and I really get the grey matter going! But for now, it’s time to hangout with the Husband and the Little Man.

Thanks so much for reading, if you want updates on new blog posts, please go HERE and ‘Like’ The Uni Mummy and feel free to share with your friends & family! Or if you’re an Instagram-er, you can find me @theunimummy

Thanks again!

I am ACTUALLY going to do this!

I am currently sitting in our new home (aka my Parent’s house) having just completed another piece of homework, it’s not due until Thursday but I am starting as I mean to go on and that means being organised. We are all unpacked, I have purchased some earplugs (essential when your roommate is a toddler) and the Husband is baking me some delicious sweet snacks to help get me through my first week. It is only 2 more sleeps now until this journey really gets underway and I think my mind has been so tied up with moving in with my parents/making sure the Little Man is happy/trying to find some money for childcare (an ongoing battle, so continue to watch this space) that I really haven’t had time to think about starting this course. And as this latest piece of homework involved researching a real life article and writing about it, it’s really hit home that this is it. I am ACTUALLY going to do this. Bloody hell!

It was a while ago that I got offered my place and even longer since I applied so I think this weekend, my last of freedom, felt like such a long way off that I didn’t really think about it too much. But now I am and my tummy is filling up with butterflies (or stampeding elephants more accurately, thanks IBS!) People have asked me how I am feeling and honestly, right now, aside from those pesky elephants, I am excited. SO excited. I am not only getting the opportunity to study again, but I’m taking the first steps onto what will hopefully be a lifelong career. And I’m excited too that although I know I will be a nurse at the end of the course, beyond that, this could take me anywhere. I may end up working in research or even end up lecturing one day, that feeling of the world being my oyster is so exhilarating.

Of course, I wouldn’t be a normal human being if I wasn’t a little nervous. I am.

Anyone that knows me well, will know that I am very determined (or stubborn if you ask my family) so I know I will do this but it doesn’t mean that I can’t see that it’s not always going to be an easy ride. I’ve already mentioned how much I’m going to miss my partner in crime, the George to my Sharky (accept it Husband, you are George). But I know, that it’ll be worth it and that as a couple, we can handle it. I am also aware that I’m going to be missing out on time with the Little Man. Having almost always been a SAHM since he was born, it’s sad that this chapter is coming to an end. But, without being a big bragging showey off Mummy, he’s a clever chap. He’s as bright as a very shiny button and the stimulation they can give him at nursery is, in some ways, more than I can offer him. If nothing else, they’ll happily do arts and crafts with him without it ending up with him being held at arms length, whilst someone desperately tries to clean paint off his, well everywhere! Plus they have a huge wooden train in their garden, how can I compete with that?! I also know that socialising with our friends isn’t going to be quite as easy, even when we find the time, we don’t have the money to go out and drink all of the rum, like we used to. Oh Rum! But, we have some very amazing friends. They have supported us right from the offset and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so, even if we only manage to squeeze in a cuppa (& cake, obviously) with them once a month. And on the flipside of that, I am a little nervous about making new friends too. I know that due to the nature of the course, my fellow students are almost certainly going to be likeminded individuals but will they be able to put up with my grumps when I haven’t had enough sleep?! (Laura P, if you’re reading this, just feed me coffee and I’ll be okay).

So before this turns into a role call of the characters from ‘Inside Out’, I want to say a huge thank-you to you all. You brilliant lot have been very lovely to me and told me how amazing I am to do this and even used the word ‘Inspiring’ but quite honestly, it doesn’t feel as profound as that. It just feels like this is what I am meant to do. I have previously mentioned that my Mum, has been part of the driving force behind me taking on this endeavour but there’s another lady who deserves some credit too. My Grandma Marion. Sadly, she passed away 4 years ago but when she first got poorly I got to spend some quality time with her on my own and she said to me “Grace, I’ve always felt it was a shame that you don’t use your degree”, well Grandma, this is for you. I’m sorry you’re not around to see me do this, but I carry you in my heart every day and those words have hung around my head since you said them and I am going to make you bloody proud of me. I promise.


Grandma Marion, thanks for the virtual kick up the arse!

So that’s that. My last post before I make this dream a reality and become a real-life Mature Student. Eek!

P.S. In order to avoid annoying anyone on my personal Facebook page who couldn’t give a hoot about my blog, I have set up a Uni Mummy page on there too. So going forward I will post updates there instead. So, if you want to continue following this journey, please go on here and ‘Like’ my page. And thanks again for reading, I’ll see you on the other side!