Postgraduate student parent diaries – Week 1 – My first week, finance and childcare!

Wow, it’s been a minute since my last post! SOOOOO whilst I am back doing my MA in Career Guidance and Development at University, I thought it would be a good feature on the blog to share my experience via a regular feature called Postgraduate Student Parent Diaries. I’m hoping I can share my experiences, what went well and what didn’t. I am planning on writing some helpful posts separately, like time management as a student parent and all things finance etc. this feature is just going to be a document of my time doing my MA as a student parent!

My first lectures

So University life looks a world away from when I did my Undergraduate study because of Covid-19!!!

I only got my timetable finalised last week and was actually surprised to see that all my teaching would be completed face to face, so I actually physically get to go into University, two afternoons a week. This has posed a bit of a problem childcare wise though, Arthur and Maisie haven’t been to childcare since lockdown and we are now having to re-register them. Maisie was able to start this week, she only needs collecting from school, but Arthur cannot start until November. So we called upon Grandparents this week to help with the childcare. My Mum had Arthur on my first day and then James’ parents came to watch him for the second. Going forward we are just going to have to play it by ear and see who is available when, James is still only working part time so he is also available for some of it.

My first day went well. I headed to the Library first, I was surprised to see it looked exactly the same and instantaneously had flashbacks to my undergrad days of being sat in there until the early hours. It made me smile because James and I met on our course at University and would often be in there at the same time before we were actually together, working away. I took a few books out using the list I had made the night before and was proud that I remembered how to find them.

Then I headed for my first lecture – Developing Professional Practice: Organisational Culture and Professional Practice. I found the building ok without having to ask for help as I do have some knowledge of the University layout (but there have been a few additions since my time!!!) The room felt weird, with individual desks spread out to accommodate social distancing and I got the feeling this would be a completely different experience of university than I was used to. Everyone is required to wear a mask, unless exempt. My lecturer was wearing a face shield and discussion was limited.

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Starting school again after lockdown

When planning ahead for my posts, since we have started to try and blog more about family and lifestyle than fashion and beauty, I thought that I would share some thoughts on starting school again after lockdown. Then it dawned on me that the biggest effect this will have on anyone is Maisie. So this week Maisie will be sharing her thoughts on starting school again after lockdown and how she is feeling about it in her own words:

Maisies thoughts:

Emma Ellis. The Plus Size of Life, Maisie Ellis, Starting school after lockdown, walking to school
Maisie’s first day at school ever!

1. My Teacher

I am nervous to meet my new teacher. Usually we get to meet them before we finish for the summer holidays but that did not happen this time. I know I shouldn’t be nervous. I’m sure she will be just as nice as my other teachers.

2. Wearing Masks

I’m not bothered if I have to wear a mask because to be honest I don’t really mind wearing them when we are shopping or on the bus. Some other people in my class may fidget i’ll try my best not to fidget to keep my mask as clean as I can.

3. Friends

I am so excited to see all of my friends. I’ve already seen a few when we started football again and when me and Mum went for walks but the others I haven’t seen i’m really excited to see.

4. Playtime

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5 reasons I love the large age gap between my children

I have written before about having a new baby when there are other kids in your household and all the things that can help ease the pressures of jealousy from older siblings, you can read that here. Today I want to talk about 5 reasons I love the age gap between my children.

There is 8 years between Maisie and Arthur and although sometimes it has been a bit of a challenge when it comes to activities and school holidays to get the right balance, overall we have had such a positive experience.

Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, age gap children

1. I didn’t feel as exhausted as I could of

Having a new baby is exhausting. I can’t believe I had forgotten what those first few weeks were like! BUT that said I think it definitely would have been more difficult if Maisie was younger than 7 when Arthur came along. I couldn’t imagine having a toddler and a new baby at the same time, hats off to anyone who copes with that!!

2. Their bond is so special

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My Oily Skincare routine!

Ok, so it’s been a while since I shared my skincare routine, I share alot of products I use on social media and from that comes alot of questions so I thought I would share with you today what products I use in my oily skincare routine and talk about what they do and how they have performed for my oily skin.

I think when I was younger, I just accepted that I had oily skin and used everything I could to mattify my skin without really thinking about how dry I was making it. Basically that didn’t matter as long as my skin wasn’t oily. As I have gotten older, I have realised that I have to add moisture and oil to my skin. My skincare routine now has a good mix of products to help with the oil and also products which hydrate.

So as a starting point, there is an amazing app on my phone called Skincare Routine – this is it on the Google Play store – that has helped me so much. You can add any Deciem product and also add your own custom products. It does warn you if things clash and if you are using too many serums etc. It also layers your steps and products in the recommended order for you to make things a bit easier.

So I’m going to talk about each product I use, when I use it and also talk a little bit about what it does.


Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, oily skincare routine, cleansers

Carbon Theory Cleansing Bar – I use this every morning to clean and refresh my skin, it’s a bar of soap which you lather up and it leaves my skin feeling lovely and fresh for the day. The only thing that’s annoying me about this product is that at the moment they are wrapping it in plastic packaging again due to Covid-19, so I’m hoping the paper packaging is back by the time I need some more.

Simple Oil Cleanser – I use this to remove my makeup and in the first step of my PM double cleanse. It’s a really affordable and nice choice for a makeup remover.

G9 Skin White In Milk Whipping foam –  I use this cleanser every night after as the second step in my double cleanse. It smells lovely! It leaves my skin feeling extra clean after my oil cleanse.


Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, oily skincare routine, toners

I currently have three different toners in my routine.

Holika Holika AC Mild Clear Toner –  This is my morning toner. I use it every morning after cleansing and before anything else. I like the smell and it leaves my skin feeling matt which is a must in the morning before makeup. I find this one a little too drying to use on an evening.

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10 things all Mums do daily!

Happy hump day everyone! I thought today I would share a little lighthearted post documenting things all Mums do daily!

Inspired by a TikTok I made on Yorkshire day, in which I shared 3 things that all Mums from Yorkshire say to their kids, I had a little think and came up with this post. I tried to think about what I do daily and then created this list of 10 things all Mums do daily, so I hope you enjoy it!

Emma Ellis, the plus size of life, 10 things all mums do daily, family blog

1. Sigh

Whether it be because my kids are kicking off again or I have walked past that pile of neatly folded washing I put at the bottom of the stairs for the 34543th time today, I sigh, ALL THE TIME and other Mums do too.

2. Lie

Ok, so I don’t lie about anything too serious, but when my kids are like “Mum, do you like my picture of you?” I have to say ” oh, darling that is amazing, you have really captured my essence ……….” Just like when we lie about the Tooth Fairy and Santa really 🙂

3. Write lists

Shopping lists, cleaning lists, to do lists, a list of lists I need to write? If it can be written down in bullet points or a numbered list, I do it. It makes me feel organised when I really am just winging it

4. Speak to our own Mums

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Getting ready for University!

As you may or may not know I will be going back to University as a Postgraduate student this September. I completed my Undergraduate study in 2012 and have always wanted to do my Masters, the time has finally come! So I wanted to share with you all my journey! I am planning on doing lots of posts about managing your time when you are a student parent etc, I’ve already had some experience with that, but today I a talking about getting ready for University, the process and how I am preparing!


So, the biggest thing for me was getting my stationary and supplies. I’ve bought a few bits but will mostly just be using paper and pads I already have, but i bought a project book from Sainsburys Home the other week and I also stocked up on my pens!

Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, Getting ready for University, Sainsburys Home Office Supplies, student supplies,

I am currently on the search for a life planner. As a busy Mum of two already, I need more than a diary, I need something that I can use to plan my families weekly activities and my University schedule to make sure everything runs smoothly. I have been looking at this one, The Family Life Book Diary from Box Clever Press, it looks like it will really help to keep me organised!

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Toys can last a lifetime!

Since Arthur was born in 2018, I’ve always been looking for ways to reduce the waste we produce as a family. We use cloth nappies and I try to limit the amount of single use plastic we buy or find ways to reuse if this is unavoidable. When we had Arthur, we chose not to buy him any plastic toys anything we have bought ourselves has been wooden. I was thinking the other week about all the toys that Arthur has had handed down to him and how amazing it is as an idea to reduce plastic waste. Toys can last a lifetime, so this week I am sharing his favourite toys and the stories behind where they came from!

Stuffed toys

Arthur has ALOT of stuffed toys. Most of which came from Maisie but there are a few that have more sentiment.


The brown bear was James’ which he passed onto Maisie and she has now given it to Arthur. The little chick and the Fimble were passed on from my youngest brother to Maisie and then given to Arthur.

My Mum recently brought all of our old TY beanies for Maisie too as well as our collections of McDonalds Wombles and Mr Men/Little Miss

Plastic Toys

So as I said we do not really buy plastic toys for Arthur, but we did for Maisie. So naturally when we were clearing her room before moving house last year, we found some things which she happily passed on to Arthur.

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To my children I am perfect!

Mum guilt has been setting in alot recently. It’s such a hard thing to overcome, it’s like a small seed is planted and it just gets bigger and bigger. So today I’m hashing out my feelings in the reflective post, to my children I am perfect!

What toddler doesn’t have messy chops?

Growing up wasn’t the best for me. I HATE thinking about my time at school. I felt alone through most of my teens because of how I saw the world and I really struggled with my mental health. I struggled for friends, except for a select few who I am still friends with today. This continued through school and University and I would just behave how I wanted without thinking about any of the consequences. As a grown up, I see things from a completely different perspective, but that doesn’t stop the anxiety creeping in.

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