What It’s Really Like To Have A Baby Halfway Through University

What’s it like to have a baby at University? 🎓 find out here –

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This will be a long one so grab yourself a snack!

I started my degree in September 2016, after having a year out to work full time. I did this to make sure that it was definitely the degree I wanted to do because obviously, it’s a lot of money! I settled on English Literature and Journalism due to my adoration of writing. I felt that a combined degree like this kept my options open as at the time I was toying with the idea of being a Literature teacher, but I was also fascinated by the world of Journalism.

Instantly, I fell in love with both subjects and adored my time there.

Unfortunately, in the January of 2017, my Dad passed away. I was absolutely beyond heart broken and didn’t want to continue with anything in my life, never mind my degree. I wasn’t attending as much, I wasn’t putting the effort in. Outside of University, I wasn’t looking after myself at all and I became very poorly, both physically and mentally. I fell pregnant three months later and it was what I needed more than anything. At first I was terrified, I thought I was going to have to drop out and I was panicking so much!

Thankfully, the pregnancy had the opposite affect and I was more motivated than I’d ever been before. I quit smoking, stopped having three energy drinks a day, ate better, drank water and genuinely looked after myself and I felt amazing. Being pregnant gave me the drive and the motivation to want to make something of myself.

A lot of people asked me what I was going to do when I told them. I think in a lot of people’s eyes it was a case of abortion or abandoning my degree. Why does it have to be like that, though? I wanted both worlds and I believe that when you set your mind to something, nothing can hold you back.

I had eight weeks from finding out until breaking up for the summer and I spent those eight weeks walking out of lectures to be sick! I didn’t mind though. I was creating a beautiful baby inside of me and I was so motivated to succeed and get this degree not only for me, but for him too.

I told the University about my pregnancy and when the baby was due. It’s important that they know this and they know that you may be off for scans, hospital appointments etc. The vast majority of my lecturers were extremely supportive and kind about it all. The University will also help you to decide whether you want to put your studies on hold, or simply keep going. I decided to keep going because I thought it would be harder to leave and come back than just to keep pushing on. My tutor helped me to work my timetable for the semester after the birth of my son so that my contact hours would be minimal and it wouldn’t be too much of a strain or too difficult to find child care.

You also need to speak to Student Finances as you are entitled to an extra amount of money on top of your student loan and grants for being a parent in education.

When I started my second year of University I was approaching the six month mark and was visibly showing a bump. I’m not going to lie to you, people stare. I always took that as a compliment though. I only ever heard one person make a negative comment under their breath but every single other person was so supportive. Everyone in my class was asking questions and being kind and then just genuinely treating me like a normal student which is all I wanted.

My baby was growing a lot more than expected and I was off a few times for growth scans and appointments but like I mentioned, my lecturers were great. The only time my pregnancy ever affected my work is when I was expected to do a ten minute presentation infront of a lot of people at 34 weeks pregnant. I physically and mentally couldn’t do it and I was having anxiety attacks at the thought. I’d suffered from anxiety for years and this was bringing it all back, I was being sick, shaking and just feeling awful and I knew I couldn’t put myself or my baby through that. I was in hospital one night for reduced foetal movements that I believe was down to my stress and that was the last straw for me. My son will always come first and so I handed in a sick note from my doctor and forfeited the presentation. I then had to catch up in the Summer with an essay to improve that mark. It seemed awful at the time but know that if you ever have to do something like that, then it’s for the best. An assignment can be redone but you can’t take back any damage caused to you or your baby so always always always make sure you put you and your baby before your degree.



We broke up for Christmas break in December 2017 and I went into labour on January 8th 2018. I realised, when I was in labour, that I had two essays due on the 10th and the 11th of January, which I’d totally forgotten about. I went into the hospital at 11pm on the 8th and was sent home as I was only 2cm dilated. I then finished one of the two essays whilst frantically jumping around on my pregnancy ball between contractions. Finally, I went back into the hospital at 7.30am and I gave birth to my perfect baby boy at 16:37. Unfortunately, he was a little under the weather which meant that we had to stay in hospital until the 13th, but on the bright side this gave me the opportunity to finish that other essay that I totally forgot about.

I brought my gorgeous boy home and I had two weeks before I had to return to my studies, which was hard, as in a job you get a lot longer. I was just grateful that we were both ok and home safe and sound. I was sore, tired (exhausted) and anxious when I returned but I stayed at it and made sure that I kept up the best I could. My boy motivated me more than anything to keep going. Even though you may feel anxious and even depressed for what seems like forever, your confidence will bounce back and the dark clouds will always pass. It can’t rain forever!

If I didn’t have my friends and family behind me I’m not sure I would have made it this far they were so supportive and amazing. The friends I made at University always made sure I never fell behind and that I was doing my best so make sure you don’t push them away because you will need them more than ever.

The main key piece of advice I would give to a woman in my position is to accept all the help you can get because it’s not easy. University is such an emotionally demanding thing to go through with seemingly endless essays, presentations and reading. Having all that alone is hard enough, but whilst raising a new baby and coming to terms with your new life as a mum can sometimes feel impossible. I’m here to tell you it’s not. You can do whatever it is you want and you can achieve anything you want to achieve. With the right support, the motivation, the drive and the determination, you can do it. I promise! Just remember why you started and who you’re doing it for. Your future self will thank you and the feeling you get when they call your name on graduation day is worth it all.

I didn’t write this for any other reason than to tell mums to be in my situation that it can be done. You do not have to choose between being a mum and your education. You can do both. I promise.

If you are in my situation and would like a chat or someone to talk to about anything I’ve touched on, please do not hesitate to message me on Instagram or Twitter, I’d be more than happy to help. (@beccalhargate)

Stay strong and be the boss bitch you were born to be, the universe wouldn’t have given you this life if you couldn’t handle it.

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A Family Weekend Break To Center Parcs | Is It Toddler Friendly?

Is Center Parks a toddler friendly break? 🌲 find out in my latest blog post.

For this years stay-cation, we opted for another trip to Whinfell Forest at Center Parcs for a long weekend. In this post I’ll be sharing my experience and finding out whether it’s a toddler friendly stay!

We did come here in 2017 when I was pregnant and then in 2018 when Leo was only eight months so there wasn’t too much for him to get up to that time, here’s to hoping there will be now that he’s an 18 month old now!

Arrival

We didn’t check in until a bit later (in a bid to beat the rush) and quickly unpacked and went to put the car back to the car park. This is by far the most annoying part of the whole experience and the only negative, mainly for when you need to leave because the car park is quite a way from where we are staying.

Bikes

We then hired two bikes and a trailer for Leo to sit in. You know how everyone says you never forget how to ride a bike? Well, I’d like to challenge that theory because I COULDN’T DO IT. Honestly, I was constantly almost falling off and driving myself into traffic, not a good look.

Anyways, it was £29 for each bike and then an extra £31 for the trailer at the back, which is expensive, however it is so much quicker to get around this way and cycling is a really good way to get some exercise. You’re also spoiled for choice on the cycle parking front so you can wizz round anywhere you like!

Our Apartment

We stayed in the Lakeside Apartments which is an open plan complex that’s oh so cosy. It was perfect for the three of us with a travel cot and high chair provided.

God can we talk about this bath please!!! It’s a spa bath which means it turns into a mini whirlpool and it was the best bath I’ve ever had (and I have a lot)! Can’t even describe how relaxing it was! It did take us a while to figure out how to turn it on but after some excessive googling I figured it out. Incase you’re here to find the same information out – there’s a switch above the bathroom door on the outside which needs to be turned on (didn’t even know it was there until I googled) and then the bath needs to be over 70% full and then the light should start to flash green. Then, you just hold your finger on it for a few seconds and there you go! Amazing.

Activities

There is so much to do here – it’s impossible to do it all so it’s important to plan your days as much as you can. We booked all our activities prior to arrival to ensure spaces. On Saturday we went to musical movers – a baby group of singing and dancing. Then we went to toddler active play and football pool.

On the Sunday, my partner, Ben, went to the driving range before we headed to messy play and then to bowling on the evening!

Of course, we also fit swim sessions around all our activities, which leads me onto my next point …

Swimming Pool

There is free and unlimited use of the swimming pool from 10am-9pm everyday. There are so many different parts of the pool with slides, sprinklers, bubble pools, hot tubs and even outdoor pools. Honestly, laying in the outdoor pool in the sun made me feel like I was abroad! The swimming is a great way to burn your child’s energy so they sleep well, so would definitely recommend that for a good nights sleep!!

Playgrounds

One of the best parts about Center Parcs is the amount of playgrounds there are for children!

Village Centre

This is the area where the swimming pool is along with restaurants, a supermarket, bowling, shops and a bar. Leo especially loved the supermarket because he got to push a mini trolley around!

Is Center Parcs Toddler Friendly?

Absolutely without a doubt! Everywhere you go caters for children and young families. The pubs/restaurants even have soft plays and free baby food facilities for you. I think it makes a great holiday for a weekend stay with a young family and even if you have older or younger children, there’s plenty for the whole family to get up to during your stay. I couldn’t recommend enough!

Have you ever been to Center Parcs? What did you think of it? Let me know. All the best,

Becca.

Book your break to Center Parcs at centreparcs website.

How To Get Your Motivation Back

Feeling sluggish? 🐌 here are my top tips on staying positive!

Modern life can be hectic and often overwhelming, which means it’s so easy to fall into bed at the end of your day in a bad mood, feeling unmotivated and just flat. This is something I’ve struggled with for years, feeling unmotivated and depressed with little energy to do anything towards my goals.

It doesn’t matter what your goals may be, whether it’s to get more exercise, read more, save up money or get that promotion. I hope this little list of tips will help you get that one step closer to where you want to be in your life. I feel as though within the last few years my mindset has changed a lot. I’m a lot more positive than I once was, I feel a lot more motivated and genuinely a lot happier. I want you to feel the same way too.

Organisation

Keeping organised is a really good way to make sure you’re not missing anything. The satisfaction of ticking things off your to do list is second to none. I often keep a list of everything I want to do in that week and check back to it whenever I have free time to get things done. It’s definitely a way to figure out your work load.

One Small Thing Per Day

Your dreams may seem big, but if you do one small thing every day that gets you closer to that dream; you’ll be there before you know it. Maybe you’re writing a book, what about a page per day? Setting yourself mini targets helps to relieve some of the pressure and keep things manageable.

Quotes

I’m a self confessed Pinterest addict and I love the inspirational quotes I find on there. I save them all to a board called ‘mood’ and take a look through there every time I’m lacking motivation. You can also make boards of other things that inspire you, such as your dream house, dream car or a holiday destination. When you feel like giving up, just remember why you started in the first places

“IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, THEN YOU CAN DO IT.”

Practice Self Care

Everyone deserves a break every now and then, to avoid becoming burned out and stressed – give yourself a break doing what you enjoy best. For me, nothing makes me feel more relaxed than a bubble bath, a good skincare routine and an early night. For others, self care might be going out on the town. It’s different for everyone so find what makes you feel the happiest and at your most relaxed to keep yourself fresh and ready to take on the world!

Law Of Attraction

The Law of Attraction refers to the ability of being able to attract into our lives what we are focusing on. Simply put, all things turn into thoughts. If you focus on negativity, that’s what your life will become and vice versa. Stay optimistic and positive, stay around positive people and good vibes and positivity will come your way. The Law of Attraction is very interesting to read up on if you like that sort of thing. There are so many articles online and books to read.

“YOU CAN NEVER BE OVERDRESSED OR OVER EDUCATED”

What are your top ways to stay motivated? Let me know your top ways to keep on track.

“DO GOOD – FEEL GOOD”

SHOP MY LOOK

Trousers: Pretty Little Thing – SIMILAR

T – Shirt: ASOS – SIMILAR

Shoes: Zara – SIMILAR

Meet The Mum Behind Sew Sian | An Interview With Sian Whitehead

Hello and welcome back to my blog! Today I have an interview to share with you with the owner of Sew Sian. I’m always on the look out for unique clothes for my little one and I think this business is perfect for it. I have included the link to her site at the end of my interview with Sian.

Sian Whithead fell pregnant a year after graduating from Sunderland University with a degree in Fashion Journalism. Therefore, she decided to focus her attention on setting up her own business, although she was working for her dream magazine she knew that “once I had my little boy, I knew it wasn’t going to be a viable option to return to my 9-5”

The 24-year-old named her business Sew Sian, which became official in 2018. Sian said that “if I didn’t take the leap of faith now, I may never do it and it would always be something that I’d regret not doing”

The business specialises in personalised baby items ranging from clothing to homeware to soft toys and bags.

Of course, running your own business from home whilst raising her one-year-old little boy, Archie, isn’t easy, “it can be demanding and it often means very long hours, but to be able to provide for him and work around him is an absolute privilege and it’s well worth the little amount of sleep I get”

When asked what her favourite part of running her own business was, she stated that she absolutely loves being her own boss, “being a perfectionist – this job allows me to complete every task to the standard that I want and it lets me be creative every minute of the day. I truly believe this is exactly what I was meant to do all along!”

Sian also said that, “I also absolutely love seeing my son in Sew Sian clothes, the amount of satisfaction that brings is above anything I could have ever imagined”

I also asked Sian what the hardest part of running Sew Sian is and she said that, “I think people often assume that having your own business is an easy life. They don’t realise the amount of pressure and hard work that goes into it all when you only have yourself to rely on. I do any PR and social media posts and I’m the person replying to all the messages. I often wish I could grow an extra set of hands!”

Some of my favourite items from Sew Sian are definitely the ‘toddler tamer’ t shirt for adults, the soft toys and of course the beautiful printed leggings!

Toddler Tamer T-shirt (£12.95)
Nelly The Elephant Soft Toy (£24.95)
Navy Bee Leggings (£12.50)

When I asked Sian what her favourite items are that she makes she stated that, “this is a hard one! There are so many things that I love making and often each new design becomes my favourite! I would say that as much as I love all of them, I love all of the big embroider designs I create. I have a soft spot for an initial t shirt paired with a bespoke pair of leggings. There is something so simplistically perfect about that combo,

“And for adults, I love our embroidered sweatshirts! The ‘Chaos Coordinator’ one is my go-to because I feel like it sums up my life with a business and a toddler pretty well!”

Find much more on Sian’s beautiful site: www.sewsian.com and be sure to follow her Instagram at @sewsian.

Thanks for reading angels.x

*all photos are curtsey of Sew Sian.

PIN IT

The Jawbreaker Palette By Jeffree Star Cosmetics | Review

ICONIC? Literally every single one of Jeffree’s releases blows me away every time – just when I can’t imagine it getting better, it does! This is the biggest eyeshadow palette that the brand has released with 24 pans instead of 18.

The shade range is beautiful and rainbow inspired but with a pastel take on the hues. It screams summer to me and I adore the theme!

In Jeffree’s reveal video on YouTube, he stated that “this palette is what rainbow wishes it could be. It’s rainbow but to the next level”

The collection also includes a mini eyeshadow palette entitled ‘mini breaker’x a highlighter palette called ‘Brain Freeze’, three new Supreme Frosts, six new liquid lipstick shades, ? Lip amunition, three lip scrubs, AND merchandise including mirrors, make up bags, tracksuits!

Packaging

The entire collection of liquid lipsticks is wrapped in a neon green/ acid chartreuse. I love how the brand always change up their packaging for each release, it makes it feel so much more special. Of course, this eyeshadow palette has the print of a traditional jawbreaker sweet with shade names to match this adorable theme.

JawBreaker

Jeffeee Star is a self confessed sugar addict which is where he found his inspiration for this palette. The packaging has a rainbow splatter just like jawbreakers but with the iconic staple JSC pink component. I was absolutely blown away by the pastel shades in this palette because is everything I’ve ever wanted! There are four rows of six shadows each with three formulas – matte, metallic and shimmers. These shadows are the same formula as the last three palettes, Thirty, Blood Sugar and Blue Blood.

“I really wanted to express that candy, larger than life feel”

The Shades

Of course, you can’t have a palette as bold and bright as Jawbreaker without the crazy shade names to match!

  • VIRGIN: bone yellow toned white matte. These types of shades are my favourite for a base shade.
  • GOOD MORNING: Fleshy pink matte
  • BUBBLEGUM: a baby pink matte colour.
  • WOW: four times brighter than the yellow in the Thirsty palette.
  • SUCK: a bright matte orange shade.
  • LIQUORISH: a pure matte red that Jeffree said didn’t make the Blood Sugar palette but he’s been holding on to it for this.

“It’s all about having fun and being creative”

  • CUTE: a gorgeous mint / pistachio green matte.
  • FUCK: another very vibrant matte orange that would be great to pair with suck and wow.
  • GUM DROP: this is probably one of my favourites! It’s a matte lilac and I’ve ALWAYS wanted a shadow in this colour!
  • SNACK: a honestly beautiful champagne pink shimmer.
  • BRAIN FREEZE: a matte pale blue similar to shades found in the coveted Blue Blood Palette.
  • JAWBREAKER: a pale icy white shimmer that would be great for highlighting the brow bone and inner corner.

  • AND WHAT?: a red shimmer shadow.
  • ORANGE JUICE: an orange shimmer shadow.
  • SOUR: a bright green matte that really suits its shade name.
  • SOAKED: a very dark navy matte.
  • RASPBERRY: a monsoon matte. This is a very autumnal shade but I feel it still works great in this palette due to all its firey hues.
  • COTTON CANDY: THIS. SHADE. So beautiful, so iconic, so Jeffree. I don’t even need to explain just LOOK AT IT.

  • LEMON DROP: a shimmer yellow – which I’ve never really seen done before!
  • BITE ME: purple shimmer shade.
  • CHERRY WET: vibrant red matte.
  • TASTY: a light brown great for a transition shade.
  • CONE: another light, transitional toned colour.
  • DELICIOUS: a deep navy blue matte.

All swatches done with my finger without primer.

To The Test

After spending so much time playing with these shadows in the palette, I think my favourite shade is definitely ‘Fuck’ due to its very intense neon pigmentation. For the look above, I used Gum drop in the crease and BubbleGum and Fuck on the lid. Under the eyes, I used Brainfreeze and Cute.

let me know what your favourite shades in the palette are in the comments!

Beauty Hacks: That Summer Glow | Summer Make Up Look *

Want to know how to fake that summer glow? I have all the secrets for the perfect summer time make up look. ☀️

*this post contains products that were gifted to me in PR for modelling purposes. All opinions are my own as always.

In this post, I’m going to be sharing the top products and top tips to create the perfect summer glowing make up look.

Skincare

I always think that great make up starts with good skin care and my favourite products for creating glowing skin are definitely:

  • Pixi Glow Tonic
  • Mario Badescu Rose Spray
  • The Ordinary Peeling Solution

Liquid Highlighter

This works as a great base to apply before your foundation to create a glowing and healthy looking complexion. Sometimes I use it like a primer and sometimes I use it by mixing it in with my foundation. I used the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost for this look underneath my foundation to create a glowing base. I then put on some revolution full coverage foundation on the areas that needed concealing and then I used the stick foundation everywhere else.

Gold Hues

Gold is the epitome of summer so it seemed only fitting to add some into this look. On my eyes, I patted on some gold eyeshadow from the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Thirsty Palette in shade filthy rich.

Filthy Rich from the Thirsty Palette – swatched.

Bronzer

For summer looks, I always go mad on the bronzer! I love to look tanned in summer so for this look I actually used two different bronzers. Firstly, I used the Benefit Hoola Bronzer to contour out my cheeks and forehead and jaw line. Then, I went over the top with a large fan brush with the Rimmel London Bronzer for a more natural appeal.

Highlighter

Anyone that knows me, will know that I LOVE Highlighter. I can’t go a day without it and I really think that less is more is a lie when it comes to Highlighter. More more more! I used the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost in Summer Snowcone and also the Revolution Highlighter in Golden Lights.

Faux Freckles

I have always been envious of those with freckles! I just think they’re so so beautiful! I added some faux ones to my face for this look using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. I pressed the pencil into my skin and spinned the end a little to create a more natural look and not perfect circles – to ensure they appear more natural.

A Killer Lip

The lipstick I have worn for this is from Antipodes in the shade ‘ South Pacific Coral.’ This shade is perfect for summer due to its coral hues and glossy finish. Antipodes is an organic, unique brand that uses sustainable ingredients to create their products.

[gifted product]

Check out Antipodes – HERE

SHOP THE LOOK

Jeffree Star Cosmetics: Liquid Frost SHOP

Revolution Foundation: SHOP

Revolution stick foundation: SHOP

Revolution concealer: SHOP

Rimmel London Powder: SHOP

Benefit Hoola Bronzer: SHOP

Rimmel London Bronzer: SHOP

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost: SHOP

Revolution Highlighter: SHOP

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Thirsty Palette: SHOP

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara: SHOP

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz: SHOP

Antipodes Lipstick: SHOP *

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Let me know what you think of the look in the comments section.

What are your favourite products to use on a summer make up look? Let me know!

All my love,

Becca. X