Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Reflecting on my uni days.

It has been on my mind to share a post about this for a while. Driving over university bridge today prompted me to write about it as soon as got home. It's not often I am on this side of town but there are a few shops over the bridge that I like to go to and it is one of the main roads around the city so heading over university bridge is a common thing really. All around this area is student accommodation and as you head over Brayford pool, the monstrosity that is Lincoln University crops up. I only refer to it as a monstrosity as some of the modern architecture down there is seriously questionable, some is also amazing though! You can see all the classes of students crossing and heading to the main campus and it is this time of year when I am always reminded about my experience and just how different it was to most of you.
I went to uni locally, not Lincoln University, but actually Bishop Grosseteste which is uphill, not too far from the cathedral. This small university, which actually only got its own university status in my last year of study, has been a main attraction of the city for many years as a very good teacher training university. It seemed to be the place to go if you were 100% sure you were going to work in education. They had combined studies so you could learn education and a subject for your degree. I took education and early childhood studies which followed on from my 2 year diploma at college in childcare and education. I was well aware that I wanted to become a teaching assistant but with parental pressures I followed in my brothers footsteps and went into uni to have the option to either become a teacher or to become a TA. I left university with my degree and became a TA. That's what I wanted to do, and even though I could have done that with my diploma, and so much of me wished I had, I would not have had some experiences that truly formed me without it.
I was so lucky to have passed through university prior to the huge fee inflation. It was an inexpensive experience for me, I lived at home, and had a loan to cover uni costs and leave me a tiny bit of living money at the end. This meant that I didn't begrudge going as I may have now. I knew what I wanted to do, and knew a degree would help with that because I knew I already had the qualification that would get me my job. But like all things, it was the right thing at the right time and led to my current opportunities. Life could have been very different.
My three years were hard. I really didn't enjoy it but I met 5 people who really kept me on track. 5 people who are still around today and 5 people who I have the most happy memories with. 
Something I was never prepared for at uni was the fun that was going to be had. It is the only place I have experienced still being drunk in a formal situation. I mean not lairy, but 100% sure alcohol was still in my system. The three years, even though I struggled horribly with the work, were some of the best times. That was due to the people I had surrounded myself with and that was due to the effort we all put in. All my friends lived on campus the first year, then moved into houses the second and third and we would just hang in rooms, and spend a lot of time in town. I loved it. It was also my first taste of real freedom, but still having the ease of living at home. And what we got up to was good, clean, innocent fun. We all loved to dance and I can just remember nights and nights of doing pretty much that. I was laughing to myself recently as I was scrolling through my Facebook pictures and I have so many pictures from then on there. We always used to take out digital cameras with us. They were more important than our phones as we were all intent to have evidence of our fun nights together! I am so thankful for that, that the most modern thing we had was a camera, makes me smile!
My uni experience was made all the better by them and they, for sure, got me through because by the time I got to uni I was done with education. I have always struggled and my dyslexia really got in the way, but like a lot of people, I just put up and shut up. Just get through it Emily, was how I used to coach myself and my friends were good. We just all were in it together. It wasn't ever spoken about a lot but I knew they would help if I needed it.
Other formative things happened, like me personally developing my faith. I lived at home and Sunday mass was never missed, also all the holy celebrations through the year I still upheld and I think uni would be a time for teens to step away from a parental enforced religion but because my friends were so respectful, it was never an issue. I carried on practising and was never made to feel "Religious". In fact I think it helped support my faith as I got the opportunity to talk about it and actually, that other people respected it made a huge difference. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of times I would moan about it but in reality their silence in support made me stick with it, which now I am so thankful for. I do remember one Easter when we all wanted to go out as everyone had stayed for the weekend and I had to go to a service and then we all went out after. We had to wait in the longest queue though to get into a club and were all grumbling and laughing about me being so devout that we were now unable to get into the clubs. We laughed about it and it just makes me smile so much when I think about it. But that was what I got out of uni, a qualification, yes, which lead to a great job where I met some life long friends, but actually what happened to me with those girls was something that changed me for the rest of my life. 
They all stayed for a 4th year and did their PGCE but I became a TA. A PGCE would have given me a qualification that would have made it impossible for me to be one so I went straight into a job. I got engaged to Rob in the September who I had dated over my 2nd and final year, and was married with all my girls there a year later. 
I would say that my early 20s have been the absolute best time of my life. I know, I have had such a wonderful life since, but from meeting the girls, to Rob, to marriage and to beginning our family, I have absolute happiness for those years of my life. So much love, fun and smiles that outweighed the anxieties that came in my late 20s.
University isn't for everyone. It wasn't for me, but I persevered and due to that had the most wonderful path in life fall before me. I would never encourage people to go to university especially if they have no direction, but going to university may also open the most wonderful doors that may form the beginning of your own path and journey onto something so exciting.


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The inner change is as beautiful as the outer this month.

We are all in agreement when we talk about just how pretty autumn is. In fact at the moment I bet there are lots of bloggers writing the same thing and sharing similar thoughts on just how beautiful this change in the season is. I think we all get the feeling of happiness and amazement that this incredible painting of the season is so visible. 
We headed out on our scooters today because, to be honest, I was just getting more annoyed being at home. The kids were being rubbish and that is something we have come to expect at the weekend. The few days that you just want to be enjoyable can be really quite hard, and as soon as Raph got up this morning we knew, there was something about his character that we knew was the sign that he hadn't slept well and we were going to really feel it for the rest of the day. We got to late morning before I snapped and ordered a walk to try and run it off. It did kinda work. I mean on the walk, we had a great time, in fact we scooted for our longest time yet which was quite an achievement, and with no real complaining {well from Raph anyway}. We headed up to Lincoln Cathedral as it is such a pretty area, and there was plenty of space to scoot around. I was sat with camera in hand watching as they went up and down the paths and it got me thinking. I suppose I was lulling on some idea about trying to make myself feel better and to not get so bothered by childish behaviour. Thing is I know it's bad when Rob is reacting to it, and as he had been it had been the right thing to leave the house and give us some space. And in heading out and watching them blow off steam it had changed the mood. The tone was lighter and even got over Etta's whimpers (at her inability to scoot like her brother) and just tried to comfort them as necessary. The autumn air was in my lungs and the leaves were beginning to fall round my feet. People were wearing scarfs and coats and the sky was grey but bright so I had this overwhelming feeling that it was just sinking away. 
I have had a few things happen recently, just that chip at you constantly and people who continue to speak their mind from behind a screen thinking that their words don't have a consequence because they haven't said them to you personally. I think as that seems to be happening I have this baggage that is just on me, weighing me down a bit. Hard days at home make for a nice concoction of sad days, irritable days and days where, actually, I have been thinking worse of people who I don't know and shouldn't pass judgement on. I know today though, I was able to shift some of that off, that air just helped. I got my heart beating fast and cool air was a welcome treat having got so flustered at home.
Having written a post that was published last week about my personal battle with my mental struggles I have found such inspiration from others who struggle in the same way and have become quite aware how actually it is so important for me to share some more personal battles as what I learned from that was that there are so many struggling without talking and me just writing that post brought such comfort to others. There was an incredible outpouring of love from so many and what was more humbling was people contacting me saying that they also had been prescribed therapy as treatment and had not gone, but having read my post were now going to book on. That was INCREDIBLE that my little post helped some who struggle just like me. 
I found what today has shown me is that my soul needs this change more than I realised, I need that change in the environment to help me have a beautiful change inside. To help support me in continually sweeping off the bad and turning over a new leaf {seasonally apt} because that's what I see in the leaves on the trees; their happy change from one season to the next. The passing of time and just the next stage. I look forward to each day that comes and each change that is made, seeing it come to life right in front of me and knowing that in me the change has begun also to allow me to find a happiness within and make normal days easier.

Some pictures from our walk.


Monday, 25 September 2017

My Camel Coat.

I love coat season. I love it the most of all fashion items; a good coat is the only thing you need to carry your style on and on as each year passes. For a while now I have been buying coats that are what I actually want rather than what I need. I have been making sure my purchases are with a mind for "the long run", rather than just for the year. I try to steer clear of "fashion coats" {saying that I did buy that Primark red one} and buy coats that I know will suit my style for years to come. With that sometimes comes a price tag though and what I have done, is tried to get a good coat on my birthday or at Christmas. Over the last few years (with some splurges in between) I have gathered a few, good, solid coat styles that just keep coming out of the wardrobe and looking like I bought them recently.
No coat of mine compares to my old fashioned camel coat though. I had been looking for a camel coat for about 5 years. I had bought and returned numerous ones and had never found one that was styled just how I wanted it. The reality was I wanted something oversized and a little bit like it was from the 80s. Like the classic, old camel coat our parents might have had. My Grandma still has a beautiful oversized one that is just perfect. The kind you could put on with an evening dress or wear with boots across a muddy field. It is just gorgeous and the most beautiful shade of dark caramel. That was the goal, and it took me so long to find it. It was my birthday last year that I got 'the one' though. The one that I can just pull on with anything. The one that I could wear out over an LBD or in fact wear with vans and jeans. And it is this coat that gets me excited for coat season. This coat alone was the only one I was looking forward to wearing again and honestly, it's first wear out last week was a happy occasion.
Every year all the stores try to bring out a range a classic coats alongside their trend based ones. And every year I see a dozen camel coats in gorgeous shades of caramel but I honestly have never found one I like more than mine. And that's key; buying an expensive coat is down to you: Your tastes, the qualities you want it to have and that's why investing in a nice rich camel coat is such a good idea. If you find the perfect cut and fit, I don't think it matters what the price tag is. Yes, you might not be able to buy it straight away but save those pennies and invest and I can promise you, for every winter there is to come it will become a life long piece.
What I love most about a camel coat, as I have said is its versatility. I challenge you to find something it won't go with. OK, OK fluorescent colour probably won't accent it well but all your berries, dark greens, navy blues, reds will all look great through this next season. And what's more, team it with a striped t-shirt for the chicest outfit going. You honestly can't beat it!
 I couldn't wait to wear it for these photos in a super casual way just to share with you my love for it. It has love wrapped up in it and I think really, that is the reason I love wearing it; it is just special.

My coat {by Sessun} is unavailable but I have found some great offerings from:
{OMG this one is the dream} BURBERRY {if by chance Burberry read this blog, hook a girl up!}.


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Autumnal Blush {Fashion with Next}

And there we have it, September 22nd is the official start of autumn and just like that I could reach for my autumn boots without a care in the world; 'tis the season after all.
Yesterday, I spent the whole day photographing outfits to start sharing proper outfit posts again. It seems the summer came and went without me really dedicating any time to it properly because I was having too much fun relaxing and just enjoying my family's company. Holiday time changes everything but September has also been a different month for me. Having both kids at school allows me to pursue a different type of working week and with that all now in full flow I have my opportunity to head out with a photographer and get some pictures of me!
It's funny that yesterday was officially the start of autumn as we went out to find a street and couldn't get over how autumn's touch had already started changing it. Orange leaves had started to speckle the floor and the occasional conker was out of its cracked shell. I think most had probably been picked up by kids collecting as there were a lot of shells but not many conkers. That or the squirrels'd had a feast!
It seems only right that I share my first outfit from the session that really made me feel autumn ready. There is nothing like a good pair of boots to get you in the mood for autumn, and boy, these ones from NEXT are sure a pretty pair. The phrase "A bit of pink to make the boys wink" springs to mind with these beautiful blush suede boots, as sure enough, they are the prettiest pink boots I have ever worn! Blush is just the perfect complement for autumn. It is so underrated as an autumn colour and I just love going that bit nude in colour pallet in this season. All your soft grey knits, caramel coats and denims match beautifully giving you a beautiful step into this season. I have teamed mine with a nude pink coat and soft grey tunic which just gives you a beautiful easy look and one that is made for city walks through crispy leaves!
The boots look especially good with these mini bootcut jeans. They are a cut I never thought I would wear but I so love the look of them especially with boots that flash the smallest bit of bare leg!
As I said, teaming this look with a soft grey jumper was also important; light layers to ease you into this season which in the depths of winter can be swapped for thick roll neck jumpers. This cashmere mix tunic is a perfect one for me! I kept it simple with a nice stone white handbag keeping my neutral autumn shades multi-tonal and completely mixable.


Autumnal blush; will you be trying it out?

* The jumper and bag were {GIFTED} from NEXT. Styling and thoughts by me! x

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Cath Kidston's NEW Disney Collection {gifts for us}.

My Thursday started out pretty average. Rob was away last night which had meant that I had had the kids all to myself, or, all by myself I should probably say and this morning normalities were in fact quite normal. Usually if Rob is away you can guarantee some incident will happen that never happens when he is here but today there has been none. I dropped the kids at school and headed to the gym already on a bit of a time limit as I had stuff I needed to get done. Work out complete I headed home to the dreaded red ticket that sat on the door mat. Missed parcel, brilliant, but to my surprise the package had been left with a neighbour and on seeing her pull the bags out from behind her door I was instantly so pleased!
there in their spotty, red handled glory was couple of lovely bags from the team at Cath Kidston who had timed the arrival of these surprises perfectly. Tonight, at 7pm {UK time} they launch the NEW Disney collaboration which this season sees the face of PETER PAN cover a beautiful collection of products! I was genuinely so surprised to receive these, I had no idea they were coming and once I sat down to start opening the bags I realised that the team had been so generous in gifting me the products.
I quickly realised that this collection was going to be great. The choice of products we got sent were so perfect for us. Each item proving that CK really has got its heart in this collaboration.
  What I loved most about all of these is that this collection seems to offer something clearly for boys and girls to enjoy.The Peter Pan backpack is so gorgeous and I know it is exactly what Raph would love for carrying all his things about in. You then have lovely versions with Tinkerbell on which are more girly as they are set against a back drop of flowers. 
From what I received I think this is the most versatile collection yet. It is so exciting to see Disney characters filter into mainstream without products being garish and brash. The way they keep Cath Kidston's signature patterning is remarkable and it is great to see characters, which in fairness are a bit forgotten about, coming back to life.
I have added some pictures of what I got sent but unfortunately can't link to any of the items as it is not live yet. But if you want to sign up to have an email tell you when it is all available head to the WEBSITE and follow the links!


 Once again, thanks to team CK for the lovely gifts!

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