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

Halloween and PYO Pumpkins

Enjoying Autumn

You may remember that last year we took a tiny Amelia pumpkin picking. This year we thought we’d give it another go as she’s running around and loves exploring.

And it was certainly worth the trip! Today is the last day for PYO pumpkins at the field we went to I think. (Sandling road, Maidstone 10-4pm if you’re thinking of going.)

Surprisingly there were still hundreds of pumpkins left and amelia ran round the field finding all the diddy ones. She fell over. A lot. But she was laughing and chatting away and we ended up running round for nearly an hour. We did actually come home with three good sized pumpkins – spending a grand total of £5! A very cheap outing.

The little lady completely wore herself out and fell asleep in the car on the way home.
This is Amelia last year and then again yesterday. The difference is incredible and hard to believe. She’s growing up so quickly.

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PYO pumpkins Maidstone Kent. Titchy princess

I am going to try and make some pumpkin cookies today. Last year I made all savoury things; soup, roasted seeds, pasta. If I’m successful I’ll post the recipe. I’m going to make some Halloween cakes as well (think lots of chocolate and Halloween sweets as decorations.)

We ended up with two adorable Halloween costumes for Amelia. To give her a chance to wear both she wore the adorable pumpkin dress to pick pumpkins – you can see it poking out the bottom of her coat – and the other one she will be wearing to go trick or treating. I can’t wait to see her face when she comes home with a bucket of treats.

Toddler Travels to the Park

Autumn walks in the park

Toddler Travels

When did you get so big Amelia Skye? My titchy princess was this tiny little thing in size 0 premie nappies, swamped by tiny baby clothes. Now you’re running around the park shouting ‘1,2,3 go’ and launching yourself down the slide.

When did you start putting your own shoes and hat on? When did you learn to demand ‘juice’ when you’re thirsty? It feels like these 17 months have gone so fast. Gone is the little alien like baby and in its place is this mini lady.

Yes it’s getting cold outside but it’s still quite dry out so we spent the morning enjoying the crisp air at the park with Sammy (the dog) and nanny. Amelia ran round and fell down more times than I could count – the knees of her leggings now have muddy patches. She went up and down the slide enough times I thought she’d be sick and before that spent nearly as long on the swings.

I took easily fifty photos. I’ve included some of the cutest here.

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Amelia Skye 💗

Okay I’ll admit my blog has been mostly forgotten about the past month or two.

Between working full time, finishing second year and looking after my increasingly sassy 14 month old free time is a concept I’ve forgotten the meaning of.

Her vocabulary is coming on leaps and bounds; she now says ‘oh dear’ ‘oh no’ ‘yes’ ‘dog’ ‘dad’ ‘Mum’ ‘Nan’ and various variations of the above. She also shakes her head for no and nods for yes, although the nod uses her entire body. If you have food and she wants it she comes over and says ‘mmmm’. The little lady also runs full pelt into walls and doors, just to make life interesting.

Today is a more or less free day and Amelia has been busy making a mess. Today she has been a titchy tornado, pulling out clothes and tipping out toys at a speed I’ve given up trying to keep up with.

It was good job I had a relaxing bath and coffee to start the day because I’m now past the point of tearing my hair out. It’s like Amelia has hit the terrible twos very early.

But what else are weekends for?

Busy Busy Busy

Amelia and I have been so busy I haven’t had chance to post in a long time. Between work, uni exams and the little lady turning one there’s just been no time to sit down and write.

Our little baby is turning into her own person. She’s got such a caring nature and always shares her food – even if you don’t want her chewed up raisins!
She runs around everywhere scaring the life out of my mum – her Nan- on a regular basis.
It wouldn’t be a post about Amelia if it didn’t involve food. Our princess is ruled by food! I can’t identify her favourite snack because she will eat everything and anything. She loves beans at the moment and picks out the kidney beans and butter beans in her dinners first.
We let her lose at nanny’s with an ice cream the other day. Below is the aftermath!

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The weather has been lovely the last few weeks and Amelia has thoroughly enjoyed spending time outside. She is particularly pale like me so sun cream is a must but seeing her little smiling face as she runs round is worth the tantrum she has when I’m trying to cover her in lotion.

We’ve made more cakes than I can include photos of – Amelia’s favourite pet is stealing a melted chocolate covered spoon and running away. Below is the latest one:

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We’ve gone to soft play, to the park, to the zoo and to lots of places I’ve probably forgotten to mention.

(the featured image is off our comfy area where we spent one Saturday snuggled up with snacks and watching movies – obviously Amelia was more interested in the snack part but we tried)
I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone!
There isn’t really a specific point to this post. More just to say that it’s okay to prioritise different things for a while. And for me enjoying my time with my baby girl has been more important than writing.

Amelia’s First Birthday & Favourite Things

One year up date:

Favourite thing to do: run around holding a pack of raisins

Favourite food: blueberries, strawberries and sausage rolls fresh out of the oven

Favourite word: mamma

Favourite song: fortnite theme tune (yes she dances from the minute daddy turns it on)

Favourite toy: her baby. Amelia strokes her hair and shares her dummy with her. Baby also gets pulled round by the neck. We are working on the gentle part

Favourite day out: drusillas zoo. Amelia loved running round in her swim nappy in the water area

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Cutest feature: her little chubby thighs and big blue eyes with long eye lashes

Favourite treat: chocolate cake (this is nanny’s birthday cake)

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Amelia Skye you are growing up so quickly!

The Simple Sponge Cake Recipe

For the sponges:

7oz self raising flour
6oz light brown sugar
2oz white sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of soya milk
8oz butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling and decoration:

icing sugar

jam

malteasers

Preheat the oven to 180degrees. Grease three sandwich sponge tins with butter and flour.

Cream both sugars and the butter together. Add half of the flour and one egg and mix. Add the remaining flour and egg. Mix in the vanilla essence and the milk. Split the sponge mixture between the three tins evenly and put them in the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the sponges from the oven and tip out onto cooling racks. Whilst they are still warm, spread jam on two of the sponges. Make buttercream icing using icing sugar and butter, using the measurements provided on the back. Once the sponges are completely cool add a thin layer of buttercream on top of the jam and assemble the cake. Cover the top in buttercream and decorate with malteasers.

(excuse the messy photo. Hurriedly taken before the cake was sliced and demolished!)

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The Reality of Work and a Degree with an 11 Month Old

The Reality of Work and a Degree with an 11 Month Old

It sounds like a real juggling act doesn’t it? Working, studying and ensuring this little human is fed and clothed at the same time? Well it sounds like it because it is.

If you look at my Instagram or my uni hand ins which are all neat and on time and the fact that I’m never late for work and always in clean uniform you’d think I’ve got it all well and truly organised. But the reality is more often than not I’m typing essays on my phone and eating a cereal bar for breakfast in the car.

If I’m having a particularly good day then by half past eight when rob gets home Amelia and I will both be dressed, have had breakfast and both our lunches will be made and in the fridge – mine to take to uni or work and hers to have while I’m gone so that her daddy knows exactly what to give her. If Amelia’s in a happy mood – which thankfully is 99% of the time – I might even have done the washing up and the laundry.

However if I’ve manage to do all that in the few short hours I’ve been awake then the chances are I haven’t turned my laptop on or even considered looking at a text book. The required reading list is all well and good until you have to work all weekend and can’t put your teething tot down to have a wee because she’s clingy and in pain.

And when my lecturer casually mentioned last week that we should all know what our dissertation question is going to be by now so that we can get started over the summer I nearly laughed out loud. The laughter gave way to concern when at least half of the other students raised their hands and began chatting out various ideas and research proposals. The concern was promptly forgotten as I walked back down the high street and remembered that Amelia had run out of her favourite snack – goodies date and banana bars – and there wasn’t enough soya left to make a cup of tea.

Don’t get me wrong I work hard on my essays and have every intention of passing uni. But for me it’s not a life style the way it is for so many students. I don’t live in a house with other students, I don’t go out clubbing – haven’t stepped foot in a club in nearly two years – and I have not spent one whole day in the library in the two years I’ve been doing my degree. The last time I read one of my text books was in my car outside our flat because Amelia had fallen asleep on the way home. Id love to sit in costa with my head phones in and type out my essays in peace but it just isn’t going to happen.

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And I don’t see a problem with that. At the end of my course I’ll still have a degree, regardless of whether I completed my course work in a coffee shop or with Amelia sitting on my lap trying to grab the my phone whilst I try and type my essay up one handed on notes.

I’m getting everything done and I’d like to think that’s what really counts.

Lucy
Xx

Warm Weather Essentials

Warm Weather Essentials

It has been unusually hot this week in the south east. My car has been reading up to 30 degrees and the air conditioning has been a must for every journey.

Warm weather is wonderful for us adults. Most of the population have been out sunbathing, leaving off the sun cream in the hope to tan darker.

Babies skin is far too delicate and fragile for laying out in the midday sun.

Essential number one is sun cream. For Amelia I got a spf 50 one in a spray bottle from boots for £4. It’s for sensitive skin and is really easy to apply. Always read the bottle and don’t rely on the price to be an indicator of how good the sun cream is – a £15 a bottle one could be spf 20.

Essential number two is a sun hat. Amelia’s grown a lot and her little sun hats no longer fit. I found a really cute white one with a strap under her chin for £2.50 in Primark. White clothing helps reflect the sun rays so helps keep your little ones head cool. Amelia looks adorable in hers.

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Essential number three is a refillable bottle. Amelia likes her milk bottles still so we have a pink Tommee Tippee bottle that we use for water. She also has a sippy cup.

Essential number four is a sun parasol for on the pushchair. Amelia has a red one that I got from mothercare for £15. It has a bendy arm that allows you to position it in any direction.

Amelia loves playing outside in the sun. We’ve visited nanny’s a lot so that Amelia can play in the garden and her new swing set, an early birthday present.

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Saturdays, Sensitive Parenting and Sleeping Early

You remember the last Saturday night you went out and had too many drinks and got a pizza on the way home? No? Me neither. Most weekends I’m in bed by nine because Amelia goes to bed about half seven.

It’s got to be a good two years since I’ve been clubbing and despite Amelia being nearly a year old she still hasn’t stayed over night with anyone other than me and rob. Yes, I know plenty of babies that regularly have sleepovers with grand parents or aunties. I also know plenty of parents who started the sleep over part when their little ones were a month to six weeks old (as I breast fed exclusively until 6 weeks this wouldn’t have even been possible). And no, this isn’t me judging them. If it works for them then that’s brilliant!

But me and my mum have spoken about this loads of times and have both agreed that for the first year at least, Amelia’s nights should be spent with her mummy and daddy.
This suits me fine. What better way to spend my evenings than with my little princess? No horrible hangover, no drunken spending spree at the bar and no makeup covered pillow the next morning.

Amelia’s ten month check went brilliantly. Developmentally she is a year ahead and the lady doing the check said that Amelia was one of the happiest and most secure babies she had ever encountered. This, I would like to think, is down to our parenting. I’ve never been a fan of cry it out – I wouldn’t let an adult cry themselves to sleep so of course I don’t let Amelia – and I am fully aware that my main purpose is to meet Amelia’s needs. Apparently I do what’s known as ‘sensitive or responsive parenting.’
It means being constantly and consistently in tune with Amelia’s emotional and physical needs, which would explain why she’s so happy and content all the time.

Before being told this I was not aware we were parenting in any particular way. We were just doing what Amelia needed, whenever she needed it. Having the health visitor tell us how well we were parenting Amelia was extremely reassuring. Our family members tell us this frequently but having a professional agree made it more believable. If you missed my post about Amelia’s ten month check you can read it here.

Where else would I want to be than with my princess
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