Uni/Work/Home Balance is Actually Just Lots of Coffee

I haven’t posted in a while…
It’s felt like I’ve continuously had a thousand things to do but I think as a Mum I will always have a never ending to do list so it’s a pretty poor excuse. A never ending supply of caffeine is needed and I don’t know how people who don’t like coffee survive.

I saw a post this morning on a Facebook page about a student who had to take his baby to class with him because of childcare problems and his professor helped him by wearing the baby in a chest carrier whilst he taught. I’m reasonably certain it was an American news story but the point remains – it was a lovely and very human gesture. It made me think about my own experience as a mother and a student.

I’m currently in third year at uni and I work part time whilst juggling running a household and raising my beautiful toddler – she’s nearly two where has the time gone? – and trying to remember my partner and I are adults (easier said that done when you know the theme songs to every CBeebies cartoon off by heart).

My first year personal tutor was really kind and compassionate, if a little clueless. I was pregnant from the start of first year and he apologised straight away for not knowing what to do because as a young male he had never himself experienced pregnancy or raised a baby and as a tutor had never before had a pregnant student.

But he tried his best. He arranged for me to have an unlimited number of 7 day extensions without requiring evidence and made sure I wouldn’t be chased about my attendance if I couldn’t manage to get to lectures. He filled in all the right risk assessments and offered to find a female member of staff with children when it came to questions like breast feeding and midwife appointments if it made me more comfortable. It didn’t bother me at all talking to him, but it was kind of him to offer (I think in all honesty he felt slightly out of his depth and was thinking a tutor who had had a baby would be more helpful). Amelia’s due date was around the time of my final assessments but she arrived well before that so I even managed to get all the work completed for the final dead lines. Much to my surprise I passed first year.

I went into second year with a baby the size of a newborn – she was 3 months old and around 8lbs when my new class schedule came through – and as I was breast feeding her it wasn’t easy leaving her for long periods of time. (Think loads of pumping to leave a supply of milk and continued pumping while away from her.) I was also recovering from a csection which anyone whose had one will know can take a long time. There is a reason the people who work in the costa near my house know my coffee order without asking.

Second year was not easy. They also changed my personal tutor in second year and I didn’t see this tutor once. In fact until I started third year I wasn’t even certain of my tutors name.

Add to the work/uni/baby balance that I have a rare medical condition and my whole third year experience is really not like most secondary school students would envision.

My dissertation is due in the next few months along with a list of other assignments and group presentations and honestly it’s more luck than design that I’ve managed to hand things in on time and turn up to the right lecture hall.

It’s all worth the effort though when you have this little face waiting for you when you come home.

Ted baker dress and dummy

Coffee Lovers

Anyone who knows me knows that before I got pregnant with Amelia I was obsessed with costa. I pretty much lived off of vanilla soya lattes and the people working in our local costa knew my order without me asking.

However when I was pregnant just the smell of coffee sent me rushing from the room to throw up. My favourite drink quickly became a major no go. It probably saved me a fortune as Costa’s aren’t exactly the cheapest drinks to live off but still, I missed it.

Amelia is now 7 and a half months old and I still can’t drink my much loved vanilla lattes. But I’m hoping I can learn to love coffee again.

I found these delicious sounding instant coffees and bought a variety pack so I can try all the different flavours. I am hoping at least one of them tastes nice to me.

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The gingerbread one sounds particularly good in the run up to Christmas. Pregnancy makes you hate your favourite foods and love things you previously hated. One of the many interested results of growing a tiny human.

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December first, advent calendars and costa

 

What have we done to mark the first day of December?
We have put our tree up. Ours is green with red and gold decorations. I’ve been collecting pretty decorations, the sparklier the better. We also have a snow filled one with ‘Amelia Skye’ written on it, to mark Amelia’s first Christmas.

We have opened our advent calendars – Amelia has a chocolate peppa pig one, her favourite cartoon. I thought about getting her the toot toot advent calendar with the toys in but decided it was a bit expensive for her first Christmas when she doesn’t understand what’s going on yet. I’ll get her one next year when she’s bigger.

Amelia and I walked up to see the big Christmas tree in Aylesford retail park. We also stopped in costa so that I could get my favourite Black Forest hot chocolate – Amelia had a little bit on her dummy, which she loved. It snowed for a while yesterday and is still really cold so I’m hoping for more snow in the lead up to Christmas.

Christmas To Do List in Kent

Costa and a movie with my titch. So many fun Christmas things to do

 

Look at this little cheeky face. Below are just a few of things I want to do with her in the lead up to Christmas

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Titchy Princess just keeps growing and smiling

Canterbury
I can’t wait to take Amelia shopping in Canterbury. I go to university there and the Christmas lights are beautiful. Over the weekend the little Christmas huts have been set up amongst the shops, selling a variety of home made gifts, food and drinks and a variety of Christmas decorations. The hot donuts stall had a queue of people and the fudge and chocolate stall had equally as many perusers when I walked by yesterday.
Newnham Court Shopping Village
Notcuts is home to one of the most beautiful Christmas decoration department stores. They stock everything from personalised cards to six foot snowman sculptures. We took Amelia a couple of weeks ago and she was mesmerised by all of the twinkly lights and sparkly decorations. They also have a wonderful gift section, with an array of hampers and chocolates.
Chatham Dockside Christmas Market
This is not somewhere we have visited yet but the Facebook page has sold it to me. Much like the style of the huts in Canterbury, this market comprises of a number of stalls in german style wooden huts. One of the stalls that particularly caught my eye was an image of a food merchant making Yorkshire pudding wraps – a roast dinner wrapped in a giant Yorkshire pudding. As a vegetarian this is probably not for me but I’m sure all the meat eaters out there would love this.

Santa’s Grotto
As it is Amelia’s first Christmas we have to take her to meet Santa. He can be seen at a range of venues throughout December, including Maidstone town centre, Notcuts and Canterbury high street to name a few.

Wingham Wildlife Park
Also in Canterbury, wingham wildlife park is one my favourite family days out. In the run up to Christmas I would imagine it will be particularly popular as it houses penguins. I have been several times before and can not wait to take Amelia to see my favourite animal. Penguins are featured in everything at Christmas – I even found penguin gingerbread men in Morrisons.

All the shops and markets are free entry. The Santa’s grottos begin at £3 and increase in price depending on location. Wingham wildlife park is £17 per adult and £14 per child, under 2’s go free.

#bringbackthecostapenguin

So it’s November and the Christmas costa cups are back. We took a little trip to Canterbury high street today and I bought myself one of their Christmas drinks. Rob had a honeycomb latte and I had a black forest hot chocolate, both of which were delicious. However they are missing one of my favourite Christmas characters on their cups.

This year there is no penguin cup!

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore penguins. Half of the reason I love Christmas is because I can put penguin inspired items up everywhere and no one can comment because they are Christmas decorations. Penguin cushions, penguin bedding, penguin baubles, penguin shaped foods. (Admittedly I have penguin cushions and teddies that I keep up all year round but that’s not the point.)

I was extremely disappointed to find that costa are not using a penguin decorated cup this year. So I’m starting up a campaign. #bringbackthecostapenguin

Here is a picture of the adorable cups from last year

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