The only way is UP!

Well folks I’m happy to report that I have had a fantastic week this week. It really felt like everything came together, my only grumble is that I didn’t get my usual Wednesday off with Little Man but even that didn’t dampen my spirits.

It’s a good job that I didn’t take my judgement of the week from first thing Monday morning, Little Man woke me up at 4.20am and needless to say by the time I arrived at University I was ready for bed and not a day of lectures. Thankfully it was my arrival at Uni that sparked my change in fortunes. The lecture that I had been dreading due to my lack of knowledge turned out to be really informative and thanks to my amazing new friends, I giggled until I was in tears…there was even talks of Tena Lady at one point! The power of laughter is absolutely amazing! Proof that you can’t judge a day by it’s 4.20am cover/wake up!

Tuesday was Little Man’s 2nd Birthday and although he was in Nursery as normal, The Husband was working from home which meant some proper family time in the evening as we didn’t have to wait for him to drive back from Swindon! We let Little Man choose himself a present from the Toy Shop with his birthday money, he had over £30 to spend…he chose a £3.25 Van!! On the plus side, this may be an indication that he has not inherited my expensive taste in things, phew! In the evening we took Little Man to the pub for his birthday dinner which may seem like a Mummy-friendly plan and I may have had a pint of Cider but I promise, he was more excited by his alphabet spaghetti and Ice-cream boat for pudding than I was about the pint!

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Lovely morning walk with this pair!

I was a little sad not to be hanging out with the boys on Wednesday but we did manage a lovely long walk in the morning with Archie the dog and then I had by far, the best day at Uni since I started.

I talked about my interest in Dementia before I started Uni so it was no surprise that I was very excited about the prospect of a whole day of conferences on the subject. And I was not dissapointed! The morning was spent listening to an incredible woman called June Hennell who’s husband lived with Dementia until he passed away as a result of cancer. To say she was engaging would be an understatement, I couldn’t take my eyes or ears off her and could quite happily have spent the whole day listening to her story. What a woman! We then had a talk on the impact of surroundings on those with Dementia, which was very eye-opening and made me think of how much of the world I take for granted. But I think one of the things that struck me most is about money. We were told that Dementia costs the U.K. (not just NHS but costs to families) more than cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke COMBINED! Despite this, less than 1% of research funding is filtered down to Dementia research with Cancer receiving 13%! Now I’m not arguing that Cancer is not a worthy recipient of this money but the disparity between what it costs and how much is funded really shocked me! It definitely made me glad that we included Alzheimer’s Society in our donations for our wedding (which we did instead of favours) but much like the fire in my belly for studying, something has been lit inside me and I hope that 2017 will allow me to do some fundraising!

My lovely parents have jetted off once again and I survived my night of solo-parenting without too much drama so that’s another big thumbs up from me! Plus it also means I get the use of their bedroom which means a break from sharing with Mr Bashy which in turn means I am actually getting full night’s sleep and functioning like a normal human being (whatever one of those is!)

Ooh and before I go, in case anyone was wondering how my craft project turned out, here is the very handsome Mr Archie doing a great job of modelling it!

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Archie going for the jaunty angle…and pulling it off!

I hope everyone has had an equally successful week, more of these please!

Over&Out xx

 

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

You’d think that having a degree would make this essay writing malarkey a doddle…but 7 years after I graduated first time round I think it’s safe to say that I am a little lost.

Thursday is my ‘Study Day’ and by the time it was time to collect Little Man from nursery, I felt like I’d spent the previous two hours like a cat chasing it’s tail…I’ve done SO much reading but I still don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere fast! I sat and reflected on my Study day and my total inability to actually do some writing and I think I may have worked out what my problem is…I cannot bear to cock this up. When I got my results for my Psychology degree, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed for over an hour. I knew I should have worked harder and although I had passed, I knew there and then that I should and could have done better.

I have so many things driving me on this course, I’ve already mentioned my Grandma’s words in a previous post but on the flipside to that I will never forget one delightful ‘family’ member saying to me “I didn’t have you down as the academic type”. Firstly, OUCH and secondly, I would really love to nail this degree and put two fingers up to them and shout “I told you so” from the rooftops because I am childish like that. Anyone that knows me well will tell you that if someone tells me I can’t do something/doesn’t believe in me, it makes me damned sure I do!! The only downside of this is that I am now putting myself under a whole heap of pressure to not just pass this degree but do a bloody great job of it too…No more Desmond (Tutu)’s here!!!

So aside from the writer’s block I am experiencing, I am in a pretty good place right now. We’re heading back to Cirencester this weekend for the first time since we moved which is going to be lovely, but a little odd. I know it wasn’t THAT long ago but I already feel like I’m a different person than the one that left. The reason for heading back is that Little Man is turning TWO so we’re off to celebrate with some family and friends. I thought that as I’d found Litte Man turning 1 so odd and a bit difficult, this year would be a doddle but I am beginning to accept that I am going to get this weird, proud/nostalgiac/terrifiedbecauseitsgoingtoofast, every one of his birthdays. He’s already given us a great preview of what we’ve got to come in terms of the ‘Terrible Two’s’ which has been nice of him…specifically his need to shout “MUMMAAAAAAAAAAAY” if I dare leave his field of view, is worth a mention. I remember when I was so excited that he could say Mama…oh how times change. SO yes, a very exciting weekend to look forward to, lots of reunions but I am sure I will manage to sneak in some Uni work too, no rest for the wicked and all that!

Far from finished but here’s the crown so far!

One of my fellow students asked me this week what my hobbies were outside of the course and my automatic response was “parenting”! And it got me thinking, my life has basically become parenting, studying, parenting, repeat (with a tiny bit of TV watching), and maybe I should try and do something creative again so I don’t go totally insane. SO in honour of Little Man’s birthday I am attempting to make him a felt Birthday Crown. So far I have made a removable 2…best get cracking as I only have until Tuesday! And after that I am going to bring my knitting bag home so I can dabble in that again, hopefully.

Next week sees part two of my attempts to be a temporary ‘single parent’ as my lucky parents are going off on holiday again. This is great as it means a temporary break from bunking with Little Man but it does also mean I have to be a responsible parent by myself, swings and roundabouts! So be sure to check back in next week to see if my sanity is still intact.

 

 

Sleep is all you need.

Can you believe that tomorrow it is a month since I started my first day as a Mature Student?! It feels like yesterday and also that I’ve been there forever, weird.

Anyways, I thought I should probably update this as the last thing I wrote was emotion fuelled, not particularly positive and although it gave you all an insight into what it’s really like to be juggling life this way, it’s not how it is most of the time.

Since I last wrote, things have definitely settled down. I am slowly but surely getting used to bunking in with Little Man, his constant wriggling, random noises and bumps into his cot are much less likely to wake me up in the night. As a result of that, I am not so tired and I am feeling much more human so this adventure doesn’t seem like Mount Everest, more like a stroll up the Malverns. Sleep, it’s an amazing thing isn’t it?!

I like to think we’re all settling into a routine at our new home too. (Correct me if I’m wrong, parents!) Morning’s are a little bit hectic when everyone has to be out the house but like a well oiled machine, Mum keeps the family topped up and moving with hot cups of tea in all of the madness!! And the evenings have been great, I am left to enjoy some quality time with Little Man and when he’s in bed, I am left to get on with studying…apart from Wednesdays, GBBO is most definitely a family activity!

I am still missing the Husband during the week and don’t expect that will ever change whilst we’re doing this but we’re certainly doing our best. We tend to have a catch up over the phone on our way into work/Uni and the past weekend we celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary with a surprise night away which was amazing. Not to go too cliche but time really is precious so we just have to make sure the time we spend together is quality time, which for us was a lie in and getting to watch the F1 in bed!

 

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Becoming a Pro at drawing the heart!

Studying is still going well, I am thoroughly enjoying almost all of the course, especially my Mental Health module. I have a fantastic lecturer who encourages discussion rather than death by powerpoint, winner! Anatomy & Physiology definitely gets the grey matter going and I am enjoying drawing diagrams of body parts, who doesn’t love an excuse to use felt tips?! Not sure how I’ll feel about A&P come May when I am tested on my knowledge, but that’s a long way off yet!

One thing that I would say to anyone who is thinking about taking on this journey, you cannot do it alone. I know I harp on about it but I really am so lucky to have such a great support network. I feel like I am surrounded by a whole troop of cheerleaders who are willing me on, especially when things get tough. I can’t explain to you how much it helped after my last blog post when so many people reached out to offer some kind words, a hug and one very special cheerleader sent me chocolate in the post…knowing you are all behind me is the best feeling the world! And in addition to that, the ladies I have made friends with at Uni, thank-you. It was pure chance that I ended up sitting by you on that first day, but my goodness I’m glad I did. Those giggles yesterday afternoon were absolutely priceless and I look forward to more over the next 3 years!!

So what have I learnt in my first month of Uni…sleep is the key to happiness/not falling apart, I actually kind of enjoy A&P and an electric, handheld fan causes quite a stir when it goes off in your bag!!! (A ground swallow you up kind of moment!)

I hope everyone else has been keeping well and out of trouble!

Over&Out x

 

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Thanks again!